Today, our adventures consisted of a seven hour bus ride from Kratie to Siem Reap-- which was probably our bumpiest ride yet. However, the drive was tolerable by stopping at a local silk farm and visiting one of the oldest bridges in Cambodia. At the silk farm, the owner, who is a retired American named Bob, shared his story and the mission of his silk farm as he explained the process of making silk products to us. The farm began with funding by an NGO to employ people who were disabled and unable to work in other capacities, and has grown to teach women to weave, improving their ability to find other employment. We enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by Bob's wife before we got back on road.
We stopped next for a quick bathroom break at the Naga bridge, which was built in the 12th century and is commonly known as the pathway from the profain world to heaven. Once we finally arrived at Siem Reap and settled into our hotel, we had a class focusing on the legend of Siddhartha Guatama and the foundations of Buddhism in preparation for our visits to many temples over the next couple days. Professor Hurley passionately explained the four noble truths and the concept of karma and reincarnation and how they fit into the other teachings of Buddhism. As scintillating as the class was, we were all very excited to explore Siem Reap on our own and fill our tummies in preparation for our next day full of temple adventures!
Jessica and Leah