Journal of my Tour by jeep of Thailand, Cambodja and Vietnam, November, 1956, p.34


NOVEMBER, 1956 , page 34

Although my new friend was not free that evening, he did help me look for a hotel, but the prices were so high for the distasteful rooms we saw that I told him I preferred to sleep in my tent. After we said goodbye , I went to a restaurant and ordered a big meal. While eating this, there was a cloudburst which ruined my plans to sleep in my tent. It was still raining two hours later so I was not surprised when someone knocked on the table where I sat writing: of course, I guessed, I had overstayed my welcome without placing any more orders, so the waiter was here to offer me some unpleasant alternative... But no, it was David, Margareth's husband who came to invite me to come and stay at their house. He himself had to attend a meeting, but Margareth was expecting me. I found the house back with some trouble and completely soaked. All of Phnom Penh HAD changed to a shallow lake.
After some drinks, by midnight, things were almost dry and we went out to "Le Cambodge", the nightclub.There appears to be a distinct difference in attitude about nightclubs- with-dancing girls in Bangkok and here in Phnom Penh, where it is quite acceptable to take a white lady for a drink (no pun...). Maybe this is because there is only a single nightclub here, but I rather expect that the French attitude here is easier and less formal than the stiff British influence in Bangkok or Hongkong. For a fact, in Bangkok you rarely see a western lady in one of the large Chinese nightclubs, while usually you'll see a dozen or more white gentlemen.
The floorshows were not bad and it was fun to see the dancing girls dancing cha-cha's and samba's in their gracious Vietnamese dresses, consisting of long silk pants covered by a richly embroidered silk dress with splits up to the hip.
Even though this episode cost me more than I had saved on an expensive hotel room, it was well worth while, for Margareth was an excellent dancer and a pleasant conversationalist. Back at home we had another beer with David, after which I was committed to their air-conditioned storage room. At breakfast later that same day they invited me to stay two more nights so I could see the Great Water Festival. Unfortunately, it would be unwise to stay here in Phnom Penh till Saturday and then have only a week left for the remaining 3/4 of the tour, so I decided to leave after lunch and spent the morning in the National Museum.
This is a red stone building looking a bit like a temple, with courtyard and galleries, situated on the river next to the Royal Palace. The collection of art and utensils as well as the examplary displays gave a good insight in the Khmer culture. My favorites are the Ramayana scenes sprouted from unbridled Hindu fantasies. Numerous statues of Brahmanistic origin along the galleries are a good supplement to what I already saw in Angkor

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