Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Pepper in Kep

Note: Kind of back logging here- if you want to read first draft stream of conscious thoughts, read onward!
 Still pretty much at a loss for words about Cambodia. New favorite part of my trip (besides my awesome internship): a butterfly farm in Kep. This weekend, all 6 of us interns took Friday off and left early in the morning to go to this beach town called Kep. It’s famous for crab and pepper, so we ate a lot of that. It was a 3.5 hour ride to Kep where we went to our hotel- another little beach resort run by a Frenchman named Olivier. It was on the hill right above the water and right next to the market. 
We took that day and watched crab being caught, ate lunch in a restaurant built over the ocean, went to the beach (the water is warm like Hawaii, but it doesn’t get deep unless you go out really far), I read my book on the beach, we got homemade cookie butter ice cream at a little shop, talked to locals,  explored this monkey palace.

 In the evening, we went to the market and I ate BBQ fresh squid. 
Then we went to sleep early (kind of: I still had to prepare my YW lesson for today.) so that we could get up at 5 to go hiking. We were staying right by the national park with this gorgeous trail. Every turn had an amazing view, and the path was really well maintained. We kept running into silkworms and flowers and little waterfalls. Near the middle, there’s another little path that leads into the valley. It downpoured for 5 minutes while we were coming down the slope, but then it was perfect weather for our butterfly farm trip. Seriously the coolest thing. We walked into an enclosure and were surrounded by butterflies of all different kinds. I think my favorite was one that sort of looked like a monarch, but it was blue instead of orange. I could have stayed all day. 

After that, we hiked down, got some popsicles and a tuktuk ride back by 9:00 am for a great breakfast of omelets and pineapple juice. During that, it started pouring rain and it didn’t let up. So our island-going plans weren’t going to happen. Instead, we worked out something with two taxi drivers to take us back to Phnom Penh, but on the way we got to stop at a pepper farm to watch the whole process of growing red, white and black pepper. Did you know that pepper makes you sneeze because of a preservative in it, not because of pepper? So organic pepper doesn't make you sneeze. We also stopped at this super cool cave that’s a shrine to Buddha with all these awesome spelunking locations. We had 20 kids showing us around with their flashlights and memorized English phrases. The cave is the mouth of the dragon.

Sunday, we started early. Katie and I got invited to the school ending performance of our host family’s kids for Harrod’s international academy. They did an awesome coconut dance. We left and got to church with plenty of time to talk to everyone. I love this branch already. Super cool people from Nigeria and Japan and the Philippines and here in Cambodia and the US and France. Testimonies were so cool with people from every single walk of life. Teaching YW was also amazing- there were 3 girls: Hillary from Phnom Penh and her best friend Sprite who’s not a member and then 13 year old Henrietta from Nigeria. Katie joined us and all 5 of us just talked about baptismal covenants and how we can follow Christ more fully. It was a really enlightening and awesome kind of learning together. 

More to come.

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