As if I need any help having deep thoughts and getting too stuck in my own head! *
This winter vacation I decided I wanted to go somewhere warm, and made my first trip to a country outside of Korea in the three years I’ve been on this side of the world. The weather in Cambodia was quite a bit warmer than Korea this time of year. Year round warm temperatures. This Florida girl was very happy just to sit by the pool, read, and enjoy the warm weather!
The hotel I stayed at offers yoga retreats, so I had registered for one. It is also a non-profit organization, so in addition to running the hotel they also serve the community in many ways; building wells, supporting schools, and such. I ended up being the only person on the retreat, which is probably the only thing I would really change if I could. I get enough alone time in my regular life. The bright side is I was able to get a lot of personal attention from the instructors.
Here are a couple of pictures of the hotel and the view from my room.
I took two kinds of classes. Yoga and something I hadn’t heard of before, called Qigong. (chi gong) It is similar to Tai Chi, but not exactly the same. I think I liked it better than yoga. I have done yoga here and there over the years, but never really progressed as much as I’d wanted to. I took three semesters worth here in Korea. It was okay, but the language barrier always makes things a bit more challenging. Even though I am learning Korean and can manage, sometimes it’s still quite frustrating.
Back to the retreat, I found the Qigong classes much easier and I could tell more of an immediate difference in my body from doing just 4 classes. Having said that, all the teachers had me doing things with my body that before this week I would have laughed at you if you would have told me I would be able to do them. I don’t have any pictures of the classes because I a )didn’t take my phone/camera, and b) was too busy taking the classes.
For those of you who want to see what kind of food I was eating…here you go!
Usually when I travel if I check a bag I always carry on something. This time I had decided I didn’t want to bother with a carry on. And of course, this would be the one time that my checked bag didn’t arrive with me. When I got to the hotel the manager asked me, “where is your bag?” Me: “In China.”
So, the next day the schedule was changed around a bit, easier when it’s just you, and we went to the market where I was able to purchase some clothes in case my bag didn’t make it another day. By the time we got back to the hotel my bag was there. Unexpected perk, the airline gave me $40 to recoup anything I might have had to spend b/c of not having my bag. That night we went to see the Siem Reap Circus. It was quite good. No animals, all acrobatics and story telling. I highly recommend if you ever go to Cambodia and are in the area you should check it out.
Other things I got to do…visit Angkor Wat. The largest religious monument in the world. I heard that in Cambodia no building is allowed to be taller that it. So, unlike Korea where everything is built up, up, up, buildings here are much closer to the ground. I spent one day touring three different temples. Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple, and Ta Prohm temples. If you like Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movies, you may recognize some of the scenery here.
P.S. Don’t feed the monkeys. Seriously. (Maybe one day soon I will devote an entire post just to that story! )
Other fun things I got to do include taking a couple of art classes offered at the hotel as part of the retreat. A watercolor painting class and an acrylic class.
Friday night I went “out on the town” with the Qigong instructor. I didn’t really have any “going out” clothes with me, though. So, I looked like a total bum. Note to self, next time pack at least one fun outfit for being presentable in public. Thanks, Ils, for a fun night out on the town, even though I was dressed down!
p.s. This was the largest cocktail I think I have ever ordered! No, I didn’t finish it.
I also got to visit in the community to see one the wells this non-profit had built recently, as well as one of the classrooms. I did not, however, take any pictures there. I know people do in those situations, but I just didn’t want to. Needless to say, children really are the same everywhere. They were cute, fun, and some of them got brave to try English with me. A few of the boys (of course) asked me “where are you from?” and “what’s your name?” I could see from the white board that they were having an English lesson using “this” so I tried asking them some “what’s this?” questions. Some of them answered me, some didn’t. When you are a teacher it just doesn’t go away!
All in all, I had a good time. If you are into yoga and are interested in yoga retreats somewhere else in the world, I do recommend this one. Let me know if you want the info and I will give it to you!
*One day maybe I will write a post about the Civil War in Cambodia that happened in the ’70’s. I have vague recollections of learning about it in school, or hearing about it on the news at the time. Mostly I remember Princess Diana walking through mine fields to bring more attention to their situation. But sometimes until you are face to face with things of history it’s easy to forget. Even though we constantly tout the saying “never forget.” We really shouldn’t. People are dumb. We are constantly making the same mistakes. God help us. Really.