The blog by Nikola
A CM Manager from Barcelona Office
On the 19th of February, Sunday night it was time to say Zàijiàn Shanghai and Sourm sva kum Cambodia – as our team trip adventure began with a late start from Pudong airport to the airport of Siem Reap. After a 4-hour more or less comfortable and calm flight (an overnight flight does not mean sleeping for everybody…) we landed in this lovely steam sauna called Cambodia.
As almost all of us weren’t able to go directly to sleep after arriving at the wonderful hotel Somadevi Residence at 2.00 am we decided to start our sightseeing tour without delay and with a mission: Food for the foodies!
And we really found a nice place around the corner to satisfy our hunger and to instantly fall in love with the country and its people (have you ever tried to persuade a German chef to open his kitchen again at 3.00 in the morning AND enjoying it? Exactly…). After yummy Cambodian dishes and beers we went back to the hotel to get some sleep for the next day – except Tom who decided to user-test the hotel pool wherefore he (and we!) were rewarded with an Amy Winehouse-ish voice for the next few days. 🙂
After one day of exploring the city of Siem Reap (what means “Place of the defeat of the Siamese”), the local market (a lot of tourist stuff – but who can seriously resist those cute little coconut bowls???) and the Pub street (the name says it all) Tom organized 4 early Tuk-Tuks for the next morning for our trip to the famous temple complex of Angkor Wat. This stunning trip was my private magic moment as I was fascinated of the history of this place already before visiting it (I think my words “I watched an interesting documentary about it the day before” are still burning in everybody’s ears…).
So the next day started early at 4.00 with 4 super friendly hilarious Cambodians and their Tuk-Tuks versus 16 sleepy zombie-ish tourists who were trying hard to keep their eyes open – but it was really worth it:
The history of Angkor Wat & Cambodia
Angkor Wat means City of temples on Khmer and was built in only 37 years upon the instigation of king Suryavarman II. who thereby tried to make sure his place in heaven (after he came to the throne in the age of 13 by battering his uncle, the former king to death he somehow saw the need to smooth the almighty gods…)
The temple is devoted to Hindu god Vishnu who is pictured in several of the reliefs in the temple but nowadays the temple became a cult place of the Buddhism and is daily visited by lots of Buddhist monks (and thousands of tourists of course…)
One fact that really impressed me much
The former empire of the Khmer (9th -15th century) where Angkor Wat was the main temple was similarly highly developed as for instance the Egyptian culture of the Pharaohs or the Inca or the Mayan culture in South and Middle America. At the peak of the Khmer empire the capital had 1.000.000 inhabitants and the dimension was bigger than of today’s New York City! The ingenious giant channel system that was engineered to supply the entire kingdom with water for the rice cultivation and for fishing is still visible from outer space!
On our last full day in Cambodia we booked a tour to the Tonle Sap Lake to visit the famous floating houses.
During the rains the Tonle Sap Lake carries 5 times more water than during the dry period – therefore all houses in the vicinity are built on stakes and a lot of houses are consequently boats.
Our day’s started with a forecast of the rains: a sudden heavy rainfall inundated the streets to the lake and for a short spell our boat trip was in danger. But after only 10 minutes the rain stopped and the funny part of the trip began: our tour guide (“Welcome! My name is… Tour Guide. We will arrive at the lake at… later!”) brought us to a huge parking lot of numerous colorful boats and the adventure began…
Surprisingly we all (including the boats) survived the rough ride through the river and arrived at the beautiful and wide lake after a short stop at one of the little villages (what was a bit strange and some kind of a two-way zoo visit, with the chance to spend some money for the local school).
At last we spent an hour on one of the floating restaurants, enjoyed the views at the lake, wondered about the pets of the restaurant (crocodiles!) and had some nice private chats.
KMBodia Team Time
Besides all the wonderful Cambodian impressions and experiences we enjoyed ourselves as a team a lot. For some of us it was the first time meeting each other face-to-face and getting to know the persons behind the names we only knew from Slack…
As I know from my first time in Shanghai 2012 it is much easier to teamwork with people who you met before, so we will benefit from all the hours we spent together. And because it is also important to face our conflicts, differences and friction we continued working on it in Cambodia by preparing the ground for our future development as a team.
I think I can also speak in Kristina’s name that we are super happy for having been invited to this amazing team trip and being part of this outstanding team!
As everybody can image we had a lot of fun at (and in!) the pool, at the numerous restaurants we visited, at the roof top bars we discovered and at our trips we experienced – we shared loads of precious, exciting and deep moments together – what a wonderful team trip!
Thanks a lot to Ben, Tom and Ying for organizing & planning the trip, thanks to Julius for making it also possible for the CM team to join this experience – we will definitely treasure it forever in our memories and in our hearts!