On Friday our group and several Pouk students took a road trip out to Phnom Kulen for our final adventure! It was a really long bus ride, but the scenery was gorgeous along the way! Our first stop of the trip was at a noodle stand in the village so we could experience what village Cambodians eat daily. I ate a little bit, and although it was good I didn’t want to risk getting sick. Fortunately I didn’t eat too much because a lot of people ended up getting sick afterwards! When we finally arrived to Phnom Kulen we first hiked out into the woods to view the thousand linga lining the bottom of the river! I’m still amazed that someone had the tolerance to carve not only linga, but beautiful reliefs of gods/goddesses in moving water! Next, we hiked through a village to see the Mahaparinibbana rock sculpture! The whole rock itself was about sixty feet tall and the Buddha’s death was carved into the very top and a house was built around it. It was a really impressive sculpture. I also thought it was really cool because the house was literally just built around the rock, so the rock was visable underneath. Unfortunately because I broke my camera and didn’t want to risk breaking my phone I didn’t take any pictures of the day to show, but I’ll be getting copies from other people later!
The hills were incredible around the area! Everything was so green and lush. Even though the day was super-hot (as usual) the scenery distracted me enough. After hours of travelling by car and hiking we finally made it to the waterfalls and it was breathtaking to say the least. At first I was really hesitant about getting in because of that show “Monsters Inside Me” but I figured if I get a fatal parasite, at least I got to experience this beautiful place! (For the record I’m 99.99 % positive I did not get any parasites.) All of us swam around for a super long time, and I even got to climb up the waterfall pretty high up! We all had lunch together made by the Pouk students, swam some more and then we called it a day. After the day at Phnom Kulen, Kbalspean definitely has a worthy adversary for my favorite place in Cambodia!
Saturday was a free day for all of us to start packing and explore around Siem Reap one last time! Sierra and I took a tuk-tuk to a store specifically for monks just to see what it was like. To me it was comparable to a Buddhist Sam’s Club, the high ceilings were stocked full with bulk items like incense, meditation cushions, statues, and lotus flowers. Afterwards we decided to adventure to a market down the street for the locals. It was HUGE. If you’ve ever been to Forever 21 in Mall of America you can definitely relate to the overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by too many neat things. We walked through a fourth of the market before we decided to head to Joe-to-Go for lunch. I had this killer grilled chicken sandwhich with pumpkin, squash, mozzarella, avocado and a bunch of other vegtables with my favorite banana peanut butter and chocolate shake. I figured I might as well treat myself during my last full day! J After that I went to go a massage at Lemongrass down the street. I went shopping in the market for a little more and tried to absorb as many things as I could wandering around. The smells, sights, sounds (“Tuk-tuk miss? Hey lady, you buy something!”), and just the overall atmosphere of the town. I’m really going to miss Cambodia.
For dinner, most of the students, Professor Hansen, Pheng and Nid Noi all gathered at Ivy’s for a final meal. We looked through pictures and reminisced all of our good times. I decided to head back to the night market after dinner to try and drown myself in the atmosphere of Siem Reap again and headed home afterwards to say goodbye to Morgan, Brandon, Hannah, and Sierra. Page and I leave tomorrow and Taewee, Brittney, and Sara are all heading to Thailand. It’s so strange now that the group is split up. I don’t wanna go home!!!