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Champs-Elysee

By: Antoinette Curl Posted: July-28-2008 in
Antoinette Curl

Not too far from our street of guesthouses stands a building with a facade completely covered in neon. It called out like a beacon to us one night last week, and we just had to go see what it was. This neon trick must be one of the oldest ones in the marketing book, as it's been successfully employed for decades in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, the sign out front reads "Champs Elysee," and "KTV," which is the local lingo for karaoke. So, we just had to take a look inside -- the outside being so shiny and bright. Inside, we were greeted by facing rows of pretty young girls in colorful, classy, traditional Cambodian dresses.

They led us to the reception desk where, mesmerized, we promptly asked two questions, "Do you have English songs?" and "How much?" We were led down a hallway that wouldn't be out of place in any swanky Las Vegas casino, with wallpaper that was nearly holographic and intricately patterned carpeting.

Up some stairs, around a corner, and down another hall, we entered a "small" room that could have easily accommodated ten people (we were only five). It also came with two lovely hostesses to pour the beer, dispense ice, and press the karaoke buttons, which is actually the part that I always find to be the hardest part of karaoke -- it usually takes me a good thirty minutes to figure out how to run the stupid machine. We were asked what kind of beer we would like and if we would like any girls. Not being exactly certain of what that second bit entailed, we politely declined. We had a great time singing our hearts out, and when we didn't have any selections en queue, the hostesses selected songs for us, including the Coca-cola jingle.

I've always wondered who produces those karaoke videos and who exactly gets paid to romp around various minor European travel destinations for those things. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of karaoke, the videos all feature women walking or skipping about in places like Red Square, Holland, or Madrid. Below these images, the lyrics to your selected song are displayed, often with incorrect translations. Instead of, "I haven't got a clue" in Lionel Richie's Hello, the screen reads "I haven't got a blue." Perhaps the most incongruous video and song combination we encountered was for American Pie, which was accompanied by images of Chinese peasants crossing a bridge over the Yangtze.

Quite an odd combination, if I do say so.

Although, the oddest part of the whole evening came as we were leaving. On the reverse of the wall behind the reception desk was a very large bas relief of Mecca. Somehow, this image didn't quite jibe with the rest of the image of the place -- especially not the image of the naked woman in our karaoke room's private bathroom! Swanky, and yet, incredibly odd -- it was definitely an experience worth repeating!

Check out the rest of Antoinette's blog: antoinettecurl.blogspot.com/2008/07/champs-elysee.html

The above article is a Blog submission and Not an article written by EAS staff.

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