Charlie and Paulette were big news, the reporters descended, and Charlie entertained them “with much courtesy and charm” in the hotel bar (presumably the Elephant Bar). Phnom Penh, he said, was charming, the palaces and pagodas delightful, the Cambodian houses picturesque. He felt he had to question whether French Colonial villas (the ones the Europeans lived in) were perhaps a little suburban and uncomfortable, but the wide boulevards, built over newly-reclaimed canals, were the equal of those in Paris. Asked if he might consider making a movie in Cambodia, he didn’t rule it out, but also didn’t see it happening in the immediate future. He would, however, undertake to publicise Indochina as a tourist destination on his return home.
Clarke Illmatical describes his attempts to adjust to live in Cambodia and the way the locals think and behave, and on the way learns how to deal with face, why white girl / localguy relationships are doomed to fail and – closer to home – how he is perceived as a black man in Cambodia.
Jon Allen is in Siem Reap for the holiday season and tries to explain the concept of Santa Claus to his Khmer brother. His brother rightly thinks he is a complete nutjob.
Naomi Collett Ritz tries out a unique new restaurant in Siem Reap, based on Cambodia’s love of insects. The Bug Cafe features a menu of tarantula-stuffed donuts, ant-filled muffins and – her favourite – scorpions.