Scarves in Cambodia are not just scarves. They apparently have 100 other uses. Our guide Kumphak (pronounced: Compare), kindly presented each one of us with a lovely scarf and taught us many uses of the scarves during our 3 hour bus ride. Some of those we learned include: baby hammocks, beach towels, belts, hats, sun shades, picnic blankets, etc. Their traditional name is the kroma and have been worn in Cambodia since ancient times by both men and women. We look forward to displaying some of the fashions on campus.
In the afternoon, we had the chance to see the Irrawaddy dolphins. They are a breed of fresh water dolphin that lives in the Mekong River. The Irrawaddy dolphins are highly endangered with only 85 still living in Cambodia. Some of their threats are loss of habitat and getting stuck in fishing nets. Unlike sea Dolphins, these river dolphins do not jump out of the water and they also swim away from boats instead of playing in their wake. Thus, we had to look carefully for their dark shape and listen for their breathing. Below you will see our best shot of the dolphins.
After we had seen the Dolphins, we watched the sunset from Phnom Sombok, a Buddhist temple on top of a hill. To get to the top of the temple we had to climb 380 stairs. When we got to the top, everyone was dripping sweat and we found another use for our scarves, sweat towels. Also on top of the hill was a monk medatating facing the great veiw of the fields below.
Tomorrow we are off to Siem Reap, our last long bus ride for a week. However, we will miss the fabulous stories from our guide, Kumphak.
Claire and Anna