Buddhist New Year that is, if I remember right it's now the year 2136.
The official 3 day celebrations are over and over the course of that time (plus an extra day) everybody in Srah Srang set up food stalls - as well as their usual shops - to sell food to Cambodian families who came to the lake for a day out or were on their way to the mountain - popular during holidays - which is about 30km away. Everybody spent the 4 days selling at what seemed like all hours, not closing their shops and sleeping in hammocks awaiting the next morning rush of punters. This festival is one of the busiest and most profitable parts of the year for the village so alot of effort goes into it. Me? I spent it being fed meals of BBQ chicken, pork, fish and lots of fresh fruit whilst helping back at the shops sell t-shirts to the foreign tourists.
Once the Tuesday to Friday rush was over, the weekend was spent relaxing and having fun. It's tradition to get new clothes after the new year so alot of people were dressed up showing them off. On the Saturday we decided to go to Melong Lake, a big lake West of Angkor Wat for an afternoon of chilling out on the "beach" - it's the closest most people here get but there was atleast some sand - and we had lunch and played games. Then the 12 of us (over 4 motorbikes) went East for 20km to a Pagoda (they pronounce it Pag-or-da) where everybody gathered to dance, drink, play massive games of tug-of-war and unusally, throw talcum powder at eachother... Dont know why but it was fun, they only do it once a year so lots of people came to enjoy themselves. Sticking out like a sore thumb is normal for me now, but I did spot one other Westerner there and we exchanged amused bewilderment, was very much off the beaten tourist track.
Then on the Sunday Saly had a big party at her house in the village to bring the New Year festivities to an end, it also doubled as a goodbye party for me. Everybody I'd met came and we spent the night doing karaoke - they LOVE it here, drinking, playing cards and dancing. Drinking alcohol is bit taboo with mixed opinions about it but they always comment on it in a joking way - bad husband etc - but tonight everyone was drinking and having a good time. They taught me Khymer dancing and I taught them bad dancing, it was alot of fun and the first time in over 2 weeks i'd had a drink :)
You can call me Mr. Big. X
P.s. Phil Morris, i've arranged a marriage for you. Next time I come back, i've been instructed to bring you. You're like a god here with your nutmeg complexion.