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Y10 Trip to Cambodia – 2016

Upon the request of a dear Maths teacher to write something for the school blog, two students have put their hearts and souls (and blood) into creating the most magnificent piece of writing year 10 can offer.

“Teachers always teach you to write a conclusion at the end of any piece of writing. But of course, in English, rules are something you throw out the window. So a poem to summarise our events:

The hike with a giant spider dangling above our heads,

Biking through massive sand bumps, that annoy us to death,

Exploring Angkor Thom – so fascinated we were lost of breath

Visiting the “Little Angels” and helped to keep them fed.

The moment you walk out of your aircraft, you won’t find it any different from Vietnam. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, even the building was quite similar in many ways (besides the flag, of course). There were warnings of the well-known tropical heat; one that would make Vietnam’s feel like a breezy summer. But of course, it’s SO MUCH MORE INTENSE in Cambodia.

Despite the heat, everyone was so excited and ready to go to tackle what Cambodia had in store for us. Lunch was first after the short flight, but we were all waiting for the big hike. Even though the sun was incinerating with its deadly heat, we start our journey on a sandy path on the outskirts of Siem Riep. It was joyful as we were walking and talking (naturally). We even saw a spider hanging from its threads whilst taking a water break. Let’s just say there were screams, there were laughs, and we all ended safely back at the hotel, pouring sand out of our shoes.

That evening we spent at a restaurant that served with a variety of fancy dishes and with an Apsara performance. The dancers were like birds of the night, dressed in outfits of two colours for top and bottom, split by the golden embroideries on the belt and collar. The headdress complimented it with golden towers glittering with gems, resembling an upside down chandelier. They were graceful and delicate with every move, telling legends and myths through their body language along with music from traditional Cambodian instruments. It was an experience everyone thoroughly enjoyed for its aesthetics.

The next day, everyone was split into 2 groups for a cooking class a cycling trip. One group did one  while the other did the second activity. In the cooking class, we learned how to make a three course meal, which included a prawn spring roll appetizer, ‘amok’ curry, and fried banana in coconut milk; dishes very familiar to Cambodia. Cycling was at on the suburb of Siem Riep, where few houses littered in the middle of jungles. We cycled to a place where they were weaving handmade baskets and such out of vines and learned about the life and hardship of the people’s lifestyle.

The second evening after dinner was spent at the night market, where we could buy souvenirs, gifts and trinkets for ourselves and family. The market was very touristy, and much like our own Ben Thanh market, bargains were definitely needed. It was overall a rather fun time. One student managed to buy a pair of glasses for $2.50, while their original price was $10, which is quite an achievement.

The third day was the day of sightseeing and exploring, where we visited 3 temples. We first set foot in Bayon, the walls were magnificently carved and told the tale of the Khmers’ war against the Thai: the front gates represented the Khmer, the back gates had carvings of the Thai, and the battlefield was in the middle. The second temple, Ta Prohm, was a temple left in ruins; roots and vines covered the walls. Though in rubble, the temple had its own sort of feel that lures you into its beauty and history. Finally, the last temple, the famed Angkor Wat, tall and mighty with its lotus bud towers, mostly carved with dancers creating a sacred atmosphere. The temple was magnificent; worthy of being one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. However, in the heat of the afternoon sun, we were quickly to tire, and only managed to visit one small part of the temple before we started to beg to head back.

The third night was a night that everyone enjoyed thoroughly. Dinner was short but after was an attendance at the Phare circus – a Cambodian circus with a charitable purpose and their own school for orphans. Their show that night was named ‘Influence’, and they performed with enthusiasm. Jumping, hopping, cartwheeling, all sorts of gymnastic movements linked together into a dance and tells a story at the same time.

The final day came with a late breakfast and a visit to an orphanage called “Little Angels.” The children and teens there were taught leather crafts then sell them for a living. We were fortunate enough to be able to see them at work at do it ourselves as well. We did kind of help them (well, we tried. We just hoped that we didn’t hammer the poor kids’ hands!). The people there were kind enough to create a leather piece of craft, each with the name of members of year 10. In return, we have brought donations that we have brought along with us from Vietnam (books, clothes, stationery, etc) and we departed for the airport, but not before a few songs from the angels.

The trip was the first ever out-of-country trip for BVIS, and we were fortunate that we were able to go to Cambodia. It was scorching hot, horrifyingly tiring and almost scary with the spider. But it was great fun, and everyone was whining about wanting to still be on the trip once they were back home. And with that thought in mind, we went to school, knowing full well that it could be even better next year with our trip to the school gym for our MOCKs.

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