Today was probably one of the highlights of the trip for many of us. Not only was it our day to unleash our inner tourist but the day only got better with lots laughter and singing.
Our visit to Angkor Wat began at 12 pm where we were taken by our tour guide, Ton, to the 9th century Hindu turned Buddhist temple. Although centuries old and crumbling in parts, the 400 m2 of ancient architecture was a thing of beauty and certainly earned its place on the list of wonders of the world. From the incredibly detailed engravings in the rock walls to the larger than life statues and stupas, we were all in awe of the magnificent structure. Of course team pictures must be taken and what better uniform than the matching pyjamas we had purchased on the trip! With hilarious poses and questionable taste in clothes we all had a blast throughout the day.
Ton was also a font of valuable information about the history of the temple and how it came to be. He described to us the many wars that had ravaged the country throughout the 15 th and 16th centuries that had left the temple abandoned, to the huge restoration effort to maintain this historic site. It was amazing to experience something that we all knew about but never really appreciated and visiting a site that took half a million slaves 38 years to build for their king was truly an incredible way to appreciate the history of Cambodia.
The fun didn't stop there though! After a quick shower we all planned to head to Pub Street for a quiet dinner. But that's not what we got! The restaurant we went to had not only very enthusiastic wait staff but also live music and of course our resident entertainers, Hattie and Hattie couldn't resist the temptation of a stage and a microphone!
To the joy of the rest of the team and everyone else on pub street who stopped to watch, both Hatties serenaded us with their renditions of the backstreet boys, Justin Bieber and The Spice Girls. With wonderful food and interesting cocktails, the night dragged on with lots of laughing and dancing, not to mention singing! Other team members, Loren and Monica also jumped on stage, and many tourists and locals alike stopped to watch and film! It was truly an experience for the books and one that will stay with us well into the future as a reminder of our awesome Schoolies trip!
But that's not all! By 10:00pm we decided to make our last stop at... The Bug Cafe, where we were all participating in the cultural eating challenge! On the menu this evening was, wait for it, tarantulas, scorpions, silk worms, crickets and water bugs! The arrival of the dishes were met with expressions of disgust and thinly veiled horror but we were all adamant to try and have no regrets. So with much courage, we all dug in! And it was... disgusting to say the least! But we did it and that's what counts! The real surprise though was how scared Emily, our Bush Queen, was about the spiders! Our tough as nails leader was scared to death of the creepy crawlies and it took a mighty team effort to get her to nibble on a leg.
By the end of the night we were all drained but in high spirits because what an incredible day we had just had! From temple visits to impromptu karaoke to eating tarantulas, we were all ready to disembark from the roller coaster that was today. Although the trip was one for volunteering, I think it's amazing that we also get to hang out as a group of friends and just enjoy being here together in Cambodia because this truly is a once in a lifetime trip!
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