Siem Reap – 6

When I entered the class (in a stilt classroom of course), I was greeted by 40 elementary school kids speaking hullo in unison. I recorded them saying “Or Gkoon”, or thank you, and played it back to them on the small speaker on my Zoom H4, and got lots of giggles.

15 minutes past the village, we began passing tall mangrove trees that would also flood in the rainy season, and were advertised as the ‘Floating Forest’.

Back in Siem Reap, we had dinner at La Noria Hotel restuarant where children from the NGO Krousar Thmey performed traditional shadow puppet plays, and Apsara dances. They also performed the music live on a traditional ensemble involving two xylophone-style mallet instruments, one large bass drum hit with two sticks, one two-toned drum, metal bowls called Kong Vong Tuch (I think) strapped into a circular frame, and an double reed wind instrument which the teacher plays in the second clip below.

There is a free shuttle from the Artisans d’Angkor artist workshop center that took us to a silk farm where we had a free tour of how they make silk and silk products. It was fascinating. Here is a brief explanation: the silk worm moths mate for 12 hours, after which the male dies and the female lays about 150 eggs. These hatch into little silk worms that eat mulberry leaves grown on the farm. They go through exciting stages of worm-hood and become worms as long as my middle finger. They stop eating and spin happy looking yellow cocoons in frames provided by the farm. Most of the cocoons are then baked in the sun, killing the worms and bleaching the cocoons. Some cocoons are kept for mating. The baked ones are put into boiling water to separate the cocoon from the worm, and kill it even more. The silk from the cocoons is drawn up into a spool and pulled through several different machines, creating the silk thread. The clip below is of the machines powered by foot, and some by electricity.