Temples, teachers, and an Ox…

Hey Dad,

We all had a lie in this morning, breakfast was not until 9am! Meant I got a few early hours in on the sun deck before it got too hot to sit out in. 

Our first trip off the ship took us to a Buddhist temple. We were instantly greeted by dozens of children. Their English was impeccable. They were of course trying to sell us stuff, but to have a fluent conversation with an eleven year old was quite something. 

After looking at the temple, we were taken back to school. We all sat in this classroom, completely open air with a tin roof on it for some sun protection. The teacher was 83 years old and a survivor of the khmer Rouge regime, which we learnt about yesterday at S-21. His story was simply something else. He explained what happened to him, and how he was imprisoned for six years, how he lost his family and how he has rebuilt his life. He now teaches kids extra maths lessons after school for free. He then showed us some maths, which remarkably I followed. The rest of the group seemed quite impressed at my efforts. 

From our maths lesson we went to a silver and copper shop. They have the basic raw materials in a flat sheet and mould it into jewelery and dishes etc. They showed us how they punch intricate designs into the raw material. 

Walking back towards the boat we came across a market stall selling baggy t-shirts. This place is so hot and humid, wearing something baggy is the only way forward. They were charging two for $5. I bought two, and when I got back to the ship, I had three in the carrier bag. Result.  

After an afternoon of sailing, we stopped to see another temple! The most entertaining part however was travelling to the temple by ox cart. It was an experience my spine will be happy to never repeat. I think you would have preferred to just walk dad! 

Once at the temple, we were all asked to sit down. A monk blessed us, and tied a bracelet around our wrist for luck. 

Strangest part of the day however happened at dinner. A group of us were talking about alcohol. One person then asked the question ‘does anyone remember Castlemaine XXXX?’ I said yes I do. I got a few confussed looks, apparently someone my age should not really know that reference. I had to explain I don’t know the drink, but I do know the brand and the logo. More confussed looks. I had to explain about your XXXX jacket. How on earth can I be in Cambodia and be reminded of your jacket?! 

I guess the memory of that jacket will never leave me. 

Night Dad x


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