February 4th was a busy day for us. First the Banteay Srei Temple; then the hike up the small mountain to see Kbal Spean (river of a thousand lingas); the long ride out to the best temple at Beng Mealea. And we topped off the day with dinner and an Apsara dance performance and a shadow puppet play. We arrived back at the hotel with just enough time for quick showers and change of clothing and it was time for the tuk-tuk to deliver us to the resort for dinner.
We went to one of the fancier hotels for the dinner and dance performance. I won't mention the name of this resort hotel because I don't have anything favorable to say about it. The room was uncomfortably hot. Dinner was expensive, not by low-price Cambodian standards but by higher US comparisons. And the dishes served each lacked a certain something.....taste. This was the only meal eaten in Cambodia that was a dissappointment from starters to desserts.
After dinner there was a shadow puppet play. We were not aware of the puppet performance when we booked this evening or we would have looked for another dinner/dance venue. Shadow puppets don't interest either Bill or me. And the narration was in Khmer language, so the entire story went floating past us. We didn't understand much about what was going one; and didn't really care. Just waited for it to be over.
The Apsara dancers wore the traditional Thai costumes. The hand and arm movements are very slow and gracefull. The feet, on the other hand, are moved into what can only be considered awkward angular positions. Somehow the gracefull hand movements combined with the awkward feet movements combine together, leaving an overall impression of grace. The costumes are beautifull. And the make-up worn by the dancers is elaborate. Fifteen minutes of this dance was more than enough for us casual observers.
Next dance was a Cambodian folk dance representing the courtship of girls by young men fishermen. This was more upbeat and parts were humorous.
We were glad when the dances and music ended and we could walk back to the waiting tuk-tuk to return to the hotel after this long and hot day.