Monkeying around

Despite not getting to Angkor Wat, Cambodia ended up offering me a few good experiences.  On the last Friday evening I went out for a bit of culture.  Not the classical dance, unfortunately, which is hard to find in the capital, but a performance by an arts group of what they called 'Hanuman and the big drum'.  There were actually two very big drums, two quite big drums, and a number of smaller drums and gongs.  Not to mention a few other traditional instruments (not sure what they are called, but the Cambodian equivalents of the West African balafon and njarka).  The drumming was excellent, and was accompanied at one point by some very good male dancers.

The best part for me though was the reference to Hanuman (the monkey god).  We were making our way back to our seats after the interval when some 'monkeys' came through the audience area to investigate the empty stage.  These were the male dancers but this time wearing sky blue ceramic monkey masks, and displaying all the mannerisms of monkeys in the way they moved, scratched, etc.  There was just something about their behaviour, and in those masks, that made all of us in the audience smile, then giggle, and then laugh out loud, and I really did go back to the hotel with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

Then on my last Saturday morning, just before heading home, I tried out a completely different activity, with a visit to the Phnom Penh shooting range.  You can try your hand at everything from AK47s to a Rocket Propelled Grenade (although the latter costs $350).  I went for the revolver and the Ruger sniper rifle.  The revolver was difficult - the recoil was strong and tilted the gun upwards even before the bullet had left, so all my shots flew well over my target's head.

But I was much better with the rifle.  As you can see I didn't manage to hit the actual target (it looks as though I was aiming for his gun instead!), but nine of my ten shots would have killed my target man, and the tenth probably broken his shoulder, which isn't bad for a first attempt.

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