Greetings from Phnom Penh! This is Kristen bringing you your latest update.
This weekend was quite the adventure, as we left our hotel in the city and ventured out into the great jungles of the Siem Reap province to tour three of the Angkor temples. Our tour included a very knowledgeable guide who gave us the full history of each temple. In short, we visited Angkor Wat (the largest religious monument in the world), Ta Prohm (also known as Tomb Raider Temple because it was used as a filming location for the movie Tomb Raider), and Bayon (famous for the many, many faces of King Jayavarman VII carved into its towers).
The weather for our adventures at the temples was a mix of sun and thunderstorm- as always, weather changes very quickly here. At Angkor Wat, we started the tour during a drizzle, and were very careful climbing the steep stairs to the top of the temple. Later, the weather turned sunny and hot, and we sweated our way back to the main entrance. As soon as we got outside, we saw a little monkey chowing down on some cheese puffs. Emma got a little too close and our small friend grabbed at her! Luckily, we all escaped the mini-menace unscathed. When we got to Ta Prohm, the storm clouds gathered again, and as we walked around looking at the huge spung trees growing from the stones of the temple’s roof, the rain started coming down again. The rain stayed all the way through our tour of Bayon, where Farmer and AJ posed for pictures in which they pretended to kiss one of the stone faces. All in all, it was a very interesting and awe-inspiring trip.
That night, we visited the night market in Siem Reap, where we bought souvenirs for ourselves and gifts for all you loved ones back home. On Sunday, we slept in (to the point where everyone except Farmer missed breakfast) and started the journey back to Phnom Penh around noon. During the six-hour drive, we played brain games and told riddles to each other to keep ourselves occupied.
For dinner on Sunday, we met up with some American fieldworkers who work for AIM. Our tuk-tuk drivers got lost (once again) and drove us around for a half-hour looking for the right restaurant. Actually, they never found the restaurant. We had them let us off at a fitness center where Kylie could get some Wi-Fi and call the fieldworkers for directions and then we walked the rest of the way. Can we stop and acknowledge our fantastic student leader, Kylie, for a moment? She’s been doing a great job getting us where we need to go!
This morning, we got back to work. Our job for this week? Painting! We got very messy and very pink today. AJ had fun painting Nate’s nails pink and Emma recorded an excellent little Coke commercial during our break, which you can watch by clicking here. Thankfully, we also got a lot done. After we cleaned everything up, we spent a couple hours at the volleyball court and soccer field. It was a great way to end the day.
Blessings from all of us. We’re having an amazing time exploring Southeast Asia and serving the people here. Please continue to pray for us as we finish the week strong and get all our painting done. We’ll see you soon and enjoy the barrage of photos below!
-Kristen & the team