This week was one of those life-changing weeks in your life, in which the plethora of possibilities for the use of string are revealed to you. Eyes open wide, jaws drop, crowds gather, all to wonder at what you achieved with a piece of string. We may begin with a more traditional use – stringing up our mosquito nets – but already string has saved us from endlessly itchy nights and the imminent threat of dengue fever or malaria. Washing lines, hair ties, fan tamers, holding the unruly devils in a position that would offer maximum relief to our sweat-drenched visages. Even, one can hardly believe it, a make-shift fridge can be fashioned from only two pieces of string and a fan in order to keep our necessary nutritional snacks (Twix) solid enough for prime enjoyment and hunger relief for those too terrified to face the perils of the 30 second hike upstairs to our communal fridge. No Imaginative Traveler leaves home without some string. We recommend 10m for every hour away from GMT you travel to function as the ultimate contingency in all situations.
A near rival to our admiration at the multitudinous functionality of string was our awe at the temples in the Angkor complex. We spent the weekend temple-running around ancient ruins, recognizable from every travel calender that has ever been published and Tomb Raider. Joke asides, and without wanting to exhaust the list of the most superlative superlatives that are generally associated with the area, it was truly wonderful: a marvel steeped in reverence.
We might add a word to the wise, a lesson hard-learned by the Imaginative Travelers, that in order to optimize the pleasure of a trip to Angkor Wat, perhaps one ought give Angkor What? Bar a miss: save it instead for a post-temple treat. The drink-deal-hoops that you have to jump through for a free t-shirt can be circumvented by a mere $5, saving you money in the long-term and nausea in the short-term. Hangovers in this heat are not advisable, even to the most Imaginative of Travelers.
After our weekend at the wonders of Angkor, the hard graft has begun. It is surprising how quickly we have become used to the omnipresent sweat, our now eternal companion, which certainly peaked this morning in the Puok district on our mission to build a well. The teaching in the afternoons is proving rather more difficult than anticipated; the orphanage and school have large class sizes that span significant ranges of ability and age. Despite this, or perhaps on account of it, the teaching is a real favourite. The Khmer kids are so full of laughs and ready to learn.
So with cement in hair, lizards in bread, sweat everywhere and napping more than ought to be possible for young, enthusiastic women, I’ll sign off with love and hugs for everyone back home.