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Cambodia Day 7: Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm
"Our temple destinations today, the last of our trip, included Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. Angkor Thom, the last capital city of the Angkor Empire. Ta Prohm is unique because, rather than being restored, it has been left in the condition in which it was “found” by the French in the 19th Century, with the jungle growing in and around it. The famous reference point: the movie Tomb Raider was shot here. Rose and Luke picked up some traditional Cambodian string instruments along the way and serenaded us by the temple.
"After lunch, we visited the office of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS) and were greeted by Nikki, who explained her and others’ work in stewarding the Peace Gallery we visited two days ago. While so much focus has been on the conflict that Cambodia has faced during the second half of the 20th century, a goal of CPCS is to illuminate the work of restoration that has occurred over the past 30 or so years out of conflict and to continue to promote peace. 70% of Cambodia’s population has been born after 1990, so it is a very young country that is filled with hope.
"Nikki and Sara ran a history lesson/simulation with us to help us better understand the complexities of how a group like the Khmer Rouge can arise. The students were just so impressive in demonstrating what they have already learned on the trip and in asking excellent questions. They also ended up with a deeper appreciation of Lim, our tour guide, who lived through the Khmer Rouge and whose story is an illustration of Cambodian perseverance.
"After another lovely afternoon swim, our evening was topped off with a dinner show highlighting traditional Khmer dance."
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