The Lunar New Year celebrations continue unabated, from the crack of dawn until long after dark. Chinese music blares from TV screens while fireworks blast off in quick succession, rippling through the air like gunfire and bombs.
This morning, I am jolted out of sleep by a thunderous crackling and boom-boom of drums bellowing from the ground four floors below my window. Those sounds clearly aren’t heralding the arrival of any cute fuzzy rabbits; rather, I can tell that we’re being visited by dragons. I leap out of bed, grab my camera and watch the theatrical show unfolding outside:
Over the next couple of hours, a group of drummers accompanies dancers and jugglers, colorfully dressed in dragon garb as they perform for hotel guests and locals peering in from the front gate. The drums, clanging bells and thumping feet are like a soundtrack, providing a rhythmic background and unexpected twist to my morning routine. In fact, I half-expect the entourage to detour by the pool area; but, thankfully, they do not.
Once the dragons have left and the sounds drown out, the coast is clear for me to towel off. My backside is feeling particularly sore and buzzy, so once showered and dressed, I resign myself to walking the half hour into the center of town instead of flagging down a tuktuk. Normally not a big deal, but under the blazing sun, the prospect of that trek is less than appealing.
Nevertheless, the walk allows me to more closely observe the sights along the way.
Far from the temples of Angkor Wat, this is my kind of sightseeing, Cambodia-style. Signs and echos of daily reality: Rehab centres for victims of road accidents and injuries; ostentatious government buildings neighboring steel shacks; oddly-named walk-in clinics and offices.
Never a dull moment, just life moving ahead at a slightly slower pace this week. All because of a rabbit.