Greetings blog viewers! Thank you for tuning in to the journeys of Leum Dtaa cohort in Southeast Asia. I’ll be your host, Nolan Slay, on this special report live from the small but beautiful village of Mae Rim. When you saw us last we had just visited the horrific sites of the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh. After wetting our feet a bit more in the bustling capital city, we travelled by van for a cool six hours north to Siem Reap for more action packed learning! Dodging drunk tourists and ducking persistent entrepreneurs, we explored the expansive local night market. I got nearly half my leg hair singed off by a fire dancer, and we did everything in our power to keep Lloida from buying the whole place.
We spent some quality time with a very fancy hospitality training organization called Egbok and its crazy fun students. We folded flowers, ate bugs (including tarantulas - I’m not kidding folks) and had a very lit dance party after dinner. An equally lit game of musical chairs was won by our very own Davineekaht White Elk. In the words of one of the Egbok students, “this is a very unusual day.”
The next day, at a time far before anyone should ever wake up, we journeyed by tuk-tuk to to see the sun rise at Angkor Wat - part of the Angkor complex, the largest and most impressive religious monument in the world. The stone, castle-like structure took 300,000 people 37 years to build. We explored that and other temples for around eight hours, including the one where Tomb Raider was filmed.
Later that day, we went to see the Cambodian circus, a Cirque-Due-Soleil-type display of acrobatics, precise choreography, storytelling, and goof. It was fun, impressive, and honestly one of my personal favorite parts of our time in Cambodia.
After a couple more shenanigans, including a very impressive tuk-tuk duet by me and Jessica (AKA The Beatles 2), we hopped in our education spaceship and blasted over to Thailand. I’m gonna miss Cambodia, but let me tell ya, eating Pad Thai and drinking Thai iced tea that first night in Chiang May felt oh-so-right.
During our brief stay at the Sarah hostel we encountered a painfully cute K9, and I saw more flying ants than I ever thought existed on this Earth. And rooming with Elena I learned that she is always right and can sleep with her eyes open.
The second day our cunning group leaders arranged a sequel scavenger hunt and Lloida told me crazy stories about her life while we got acquainted to a new Country. At a Wat in the mid city, some of our crew had a long conversation with a monk, who liked Paw Klu so much he wanted her to go volunteer there.
That night, Topher and Anya took us to bowling and karaoke in a mostly abandoned shopping mall, Anya kicked everyone’s ass in bowling and during karaoke I discovered Roselin’s impressive beat-boxing skills.
Phew! Okay, back to Mae Rim, we’re all enjoying the slow calm village life, learning Thai from Ajan Petchera, and hanging out with our wonderful host families. The other night we learned about buddhism from Ajan Pnom and experienced the discipline required to be a monk when we sat on the floor of a Wat for over an hour for chanting and meditation.
The next day we hiked to some beautiful waterfalls and swam and relaxed. Some of us looked at and took pictures of the falls, while some of us (Topher) sat directly underneath them. Later that night, Paw Klu, Davineekaht, Loida and I joined the nightly dance group and struggled to keep up with the women three times our age.
We’re all eating well, healthy, learning, pushing our comfort zones, and most importantly having a great time.
This is Nolan Slay with Carpe Mundi news, signing off.