Dinner was back at the Sofitel–a rather standard buffet and underwhelming in comparison to their breakfast. The Cambodian desserts were delicious though!
I picked out some Khao Dome — coconut sticky rice filled with plantain and wrapped in banana leaves — and this coconut jelly with a gingko nut (can’t quite remember anymore?) center, also wrapped in a banana leaf. Couldn’t find the name of this dessert.
We were then treated to a private showing of the Aspara Dance. I was hoping we would be able to sit outside with the tealights and by the water, as I saw the night before. A treat nonetheless, considering that this beautiful tradition was nearly wiped out by the Khmer Rouge, with 90% of artists and intellectuals eliminated during their regime.
The costumes of the Apsara are based on the devatas depicted in the bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat. Delicate steps ticked in time with palms and fingers gracefully drawing out a story, arms pulling in and pushing out like soft waves breaking ashore. A mesmerizing performance, although I wish I understood more.
Our night ended by hitting Pub Street and getting at taste of Siem Reap nightlife. Neon lights laced the river and the viewing decks lining it. Every restaurant was bubbling with tourists gaily clinking bottles of beer.
My mom and I spent the better half of the hour we were allotted to explore, at the bazaar of beautiful Cambodian scarves and embroidery. Dozens of these stands ran along the avenue at the riverfront, like a fortress. It was all so cheap — 3 scarves for $10 USD!