This morning, we got up early and headed to the local gym - Angkor muscle gym - for a workout before the heat of the day! You can't go wrong at this place - $1 casual session for foreigners. Old school gym (Adrian loves it!) with heaps of equipment and you work out with the locals. We bumped into Jimmy there and you can tell how much of a community man he is, he ALWAYS sees someone there who knows him! Haha! Good, sweaty start to the day. On the way back to our airbnb (Melody Villa by the way, great!!!) we stopped at the local market to see if they had spinach for us to whip up a green smoothie. We found it immediately and scored 5 bunches for just over $1! We gave some to Jimmy's mum as we didn't have enough fridge space for that much spinach lol.
After breakfast, we headed to a beautiful pagoda to have a blessing from the monks, as today is considered like a holiday in Cambodia. There are only a few Buddhist days per year, and you see many families heading to their local pagodas to visit monks for special blessing ceremonies and to hear them chanting. We visited to lovely monks who we also visited on our last trip here, on new years eve 2016. They explained to us that from 6pm tonight, they will chant and pray all night until the early hours of the morning. Their dedication to buddhism is amazing. They blessed us and our families and our ancestors. They also blessed any sacred belongings of ours - I put my wedding & engagement rings down for blessing, Jimmy his ornaments from his personal shrine at home, and Marika placed a small gemstone buddha and her jewellery. We then proceeded to the main dining hall area of the pagoda and watched the monks chant before feasting on a lunch prepared by the local pagoda women. The chief monk sat on his own and was eating his rice by rolling it into small balls and blessing them before he ate them! Jimmy explained that this is how monks have done for many years, back from the ancient times. They truly keep tradition alive.
Tonight we are all going on a short adventure!!! Adrian & I, along with Jimmy, the local mechanic and Jimmy's close friend Brus Lee are jumping on a midnight bus to Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, to search for our truck that will be the skeleton of the new mobile school!!! Also joining us will be Marika, who is heading to Phnom Penh for the next leg of her trip. We plan to spend the day in Phnom Penh and head back in the afternoon/evening tomorrow. So our next post will probably not be until Friday as I am anticipating we will be getting back into SR quite late tomorrow and will be exhausted!!! Below you can see the local mechanic (third from the right) and Brus (next to Adrian). Fingers crossed our next post includes photos of us successfully purchasing a truck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Until Friday - Christine X