Thursday, October 25, 2012

Death of Sihanouk: Day 11, Waiting

Mourners at the Victory Gate
Things seemed to be winding down in front of the Royal Palace today (25/10/12), at least when I visited the area mid-afternoon. Instead of usual thousands or hundreds of mourners crowding the street, there were only dozens. The kneeling rugs on the sidewalk opposite the Pavilion had been removed, the offering tables devoid of flowers and photos, the incense urns that had been so stuffed this week that they regularly burst into flames now contained only the red spines of spent joss sticks. Though some remained, many of the vendors selling Sihanouk photos, incense and candles and black ribbons had disappeared. Most of the streets around the Palace have been reopened and the tuk-tuks and motos had taken up their usual roadside spots. Pockets of mourners lingered - a small group sitting on the street in front of the Pavilion, a few at the remaining offering tables burning incense and signing the guestbooks, small family groups sitting in the park and under shade trees, and a constant cluster of mourners at the Victory Gate, loitering and talking, peering through the ironwork for any glimpse, some mourners seemingly waiting. Limited as it is, that gate offers the best view into the Palace area, facing the Throne Hall and across the gardens toward the Khemarin Palace. People want to get closer, to see the King Father to pay their last respects.

The King Father's body will reportedly lie in state for three months, and be available for public viewing part of that time, beginning perhaps as early as tomorrow according to the Phnom Penh Post

The park opposite the Royal Palace Pavilion
Sothearos Blvd in front of the Royal Palace.

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