The Tree

Siem Reap Travel Blog

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Seasons greetings

I hadn't celebrated Christmas for several decades. The holiday had become so commercialized in the U.S. that it went from  annoying and irritating to downright depressing. Greedy merchants reckoned it was time to instill the 'holiday shopping spirit' as early as late September. They programmed  people into spending money they didn't have on gifts that others didn't want, "Oh thank you, did  you keep the receipt?" I always got out before Bing Crosby hit the radio waves.

 But here in Siem Reap, there is an oddly warm pleasure in spotting the occasional Christmas tree in the lobbies of fine hotels and at some of the bars and restaurants. They are scattered wide around town and give me room to breath and absorb the season at my own pace.

The tree

The one tree that gripped my attention was at the Warehouse, a western-run restaurant, bar, and art gallery across the street from the Old Market. Its second floor had the Art House where collections of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other contemporary works by talented Khmer artists were on display. Up on the outdoor patio on the third-floor, on a table in the corner, the metallic shape of a Christmas tree stood about a meter tall. It had no decorations, glistening strands of tinsel, or flickering colored bulbs. There were no ribbon-wrapped gifts under its base. A closer look revealed its construction: trigger mechanisms welded to an AK-47 barrel. The piece made it difficult not to reflect on Cambodia's darkened-heart past. One could only imagine the thundering hell that it once unleashed on the Khmer people. The metal tree drove home the intended true meaning of Christmas and I've never forgotten either since.

beinak says:
Great Christmas blog, about as christmasy as I get too!
Posted on: Jan 08, 2008
CrazyLisa says:
Wow those are some trees.
Posted on: Dec 27, 2007
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Seasons greetings
Seasons greetings
The tree
The tree
The Red Orchid restaurant
The Red Orchid restaurant
AK-47 chair
AK-47 chair
AK-47 couch and chairs
AK-47 couch and chairs
The Warehouse
The Warehouse
Siem Reap
photo by: genetravelling