Tag Archives: performing arts

Our favorite Siem Reap temple & the Cambodian Circus

I mentioned in my previous post that Cambodia wasn’t what we expected. It’s a very poor country. At least in Siem Reap, we saw many dirt roads and wooden shacks on stilts. If you’re one of the tourists who stay in a hotel in the center of town, you may not really notice the level of poverty. The area by the Angkor Night Market and Pub Street is littered with restaurants, shops and hotels.

Our hotel, however, was quite removed from the center of town. We had to drive over many dirt roads, huge potholes, past dozens of stray dogs, past many bareboned homes where residents killed time outside watching a small TV set or lying in their hammocks, past many hole-in-the-wall local businesses — hair salons, barber shops, massage parlors, seamstresses, mechanics, laundromats — to get to our resort. It was one of those experiences that just puts life into perspective. Especially the night we were riding back in the tuk tuk and a roach flew smack dab onto my chest! Will came to my rescue. But seriously. Our hotel even had literature warning against giving money to child beggars (or buying things from them), as it encourages the cycle of begging and keeps them from seeking a proper education. We had to turn down many children during our visits to the temples.

So, on to our favorite day in Cambodia. To visit Banteay Srei, we had to take the tuk tuk about an hour outside of Siem Reap. This ride gave us the chance to see the Cambodian countryside. We drove past many rice paddies (dried up, as the dry season had just ended) and lots of farmland, skinny cows and chickens, past kids playing in the dirt pushing soda cans with sticks, past locals relaxing next to their cows outside. There was a curious sensation of being near the ocean and feeling the ocean breeze, even though we were nowhere near the ocean. Beautiful, lush, serene. Take a look:

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Banteay Srei is unique in that it’s built out of red sandstone and it’s of a much smaller scale than many of the other temples in the Angkor area. Continue reading Our favorite Siem Reap temple & the Cambodian Circus

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The Impeccable Korean Chamber Orchestra

The former band geek in me always loves going to see classical music concerts. Luckily, we were recently invited to see the Korean Chamber Orchestra perform at the Seoul Arts Center for their 50th Anniversary Special Concert III.

The Seoul Arts Center is a large, art and culture complex featuring not only the music hall, but also an opera house, museum, outdoor event spaces and more. The concert hall where the orchestra performed was interesting — it had seating behind the stage, which I’ve never seen before.

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Seoul Arts Center

Plaza at the Seoul Arts Center

Inside the Music Hall building.

Concert Hall Continue reading The Impeccable Korean Chamber Orchestra

Getting Artsy with some Traditional Korean Dance

There are many theaters and venues in Seoul where you can enjoy some traditional Korean performing arts — from plays to dance to non-verbal performances. We recently visited two of these, the Jeongdong Theater and the Korea House, and I’ll just go ahead and say it, I loved the shows at both places.

Jeongdong Theater could be considered your small, local theater. It’s tucked away in the historic Jeong-dong neighborhood of Seoul, near the Deoksugung Palace and Seoul Museum of Art. They do performances twice a night, every night except Mondays, and tickets aren’t too expensive (40,000-60,000 won). We went on a Saturday night to see “MISO: Baebijang-jeon,” based on a classical novel written by an unknown author during the Joseon dynasty. Continue reading Getting Artsy with some Traditional Korean Dance