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Published: March 17th 2014
Daily activities and schedule.
Our itinerary was tweaked a bit because of the extremely high level of the Tonle Sap lake. It was amazing how the homes just floated on the lake, and our guide told us the villages move from place to place depending on the season. There were lotus plants floating in the river everywhere, making one wonder how they kept from clogging the propellers, but it never happened that we knew of, during our trip. We first took launches from La Marguerite to the shore at a village whose name I do not remember. I do remember the dichotomy of the riches of the temples there, and the poor of the surrounding village. We returned to the ship for lunch and air conditioned rest, and in the afternoon again by launch to Kampong Cham where we went by bus to visit the Mahayana Buddhist temple of Wat Nokor, originally built in the 12th century, and one of the most important in Cambodia. There is a Buddhist monastery there where novitiates wearing white train to be monks, who wear the saffron and burgundy colored robes. We were able to see the daily rituals of the monks, where they eat, pray, learn, sleep. At
Available daily after dinner, only contact with home.
one point we even got to ask questions, anything we wanted, of an older monk. We received a blessing with jasmine flowers from two monks in the temple. We were allowed to photograph them, and they took photos of us with their cell phones! It was a remarkable experience I"m not sure one could see if not on this kind of a trip. Members of our trip asked the monk such personal questions as "what do you wear under your robes?" He admitted to underwear, that's all. "Where do you keep your belongings?" A small leather cross body bag under his robes, he showed it to us. "how often do you see your family?" Almost never, you give up that part of your life to serve here. "Who takes care of the old and infirm monks?" The young and healthy monks. "Do all monks live here forever?" No many leave after 10 years, after giving service to God.
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