Day 1- Village Tour and Khmer Kickboxing!
By Rita & Jasmine
Today is the first day of our CAS trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia. It was quite tiring and exhausting as we all had to meet up at the airport at 5:30am in the morning, however we quickly recovered from the weariness by laughing and fooling around with our friends. Soon, we arrived at the gate of the airplane.
After we arrived in Cambodia and met the staff from a local organisation named Indago, who will be leading us through our activities in the coming week. The staff sent us on our tuk tuks, which then brought us to a HUSK school located in Kompheim Village where we will be staying for the next few days. One of the interesting things that we immediately noticed about the HUSK school was that the building was made from stacks of waste plastic water bottles instead of bricks. This made us rethink about the numerous possibilities we could utilise our waste and turn them into resources.
After a delicious lunch at the HUSK school, our local guide, Fazzi, introduced us to a glimpse of the local life and taught us a bit about the Cambodian history and how the genocide had greatly impacted the lives of millions. Fazzi then led us to a Buddhist temple nearby. There, we learnt a bit of the local funeral culture which was a cultural shock to most of us. We learnt that Cambodians go through the process of Procession and Cremation after their death: the ashes will be stored in a temple like crematorium if the family can afford it, or beneath the fence of temple.
In the late afternoon, we had a chance to learn some Khmer kickboxing, the fighting techniques from the powerful Khmer empire that are still practiced nowadays. According to the instructors, Muy Thai was actually based on Khmer kickboxing! From the one and a half hour lesson, we learnt and practiced a few basic techniques based on the four main types of strikes in Khmer Kickboxing, which includes, hand punches, elbows, knees and foot kicks. We felt nervous when the coaches came in as they are all powerful and strong. To get us warmed up, they started the class with some jumping jacks, push-ups, burpees and squats. Then they started off by demonstrating each of the techniques one by one. We have been split into 3 groups of 7-8 people, so after each demonstration, we had chances to practice with one of the three coaches. They are all very patient and didn’t say anything even if we kicked them on their stomach or their mouths. The kickboxing lesson was very amusing and a very unique experience for all of us.
After this, we finally get to go and check in at Eocambo Hotel and see our rooms. We get to have a one hour rest so we can clean ourselves up. Our first dinner in Cambodia was at a Khmer style restaurant located near the town. The pumpkin soup and the red curry were amazing and most of the tables even asked for more curry and rice! Their fruit juice and shakes are really nice. We had a few minutes walk to a market named “Made in Cambodia”, which helps to support the local Cambodian community. Since it is a very small market, so we only stayed there for 30 minutes. We then travelled back to our hotel in tuk tuks and listened to the briefing for tomorrow. Today was a great start of the trip and we are looking forward to the coming week!