Travel writing attempt number 2….this time in Cambodia! Enjoy!
I learned a great lesson while in Cambodia-you just never know when your eyebrows need a good blessing or two.
Danny and I arrived in Phonm Phen, Cambodia and decided we wanted to roam around and explore the city. We stumbled on this place that looked like a temple, so we started wandering around. We saw some statues and some small buildings, but we didn’t really know what anything was.
Then we noticed an ancient gentleman who looked like he was guarding a door. We thought that he might be able to tell us a thing or two, but, as it turns out, this guy didn’t speak a lick of English. He motioned us through the door into a shadowy room with an altar at the front decorated with flowers, tiny bowls of liquid, incense, and other small relics. He told us in Khmer to sit down (I think?) as he gestured towards the floor and took a seat beside us on the stone ground. He began sweeping his arms in front of the altar in apparent attempt to make his explanation of this room understandable as he babbled away in a language that was completely incomprehensible to both me and Danny. We just nodded and giggled under our breath.
The next thing we know, our guy turns into a priest! He picks up some incense sticks and dips them in the water and starts muttering some incantations. Danny and I look at each other in confusion. The man starts tapping the incense on our hands and then directs us to touch our hands to our foreheads. We do as we’re told. He begins muttering again, “dadadadadadadada eyebrow dadadadadadadada”. Really? Did he just say eyebrow? The one word I can catch out of all of that is eyebrow? He runs his finger across his eyebrow. Yep. That’s what he said. “Dadaddada eyebrow dadadadada” he chants again. He slaps our hands with the sticks yet again then nudges us to touch the water to our eyebrows. Are eyebrows sacred and revered in Cambodia and someone forgot to tell me? Is this the Eyebrow Temple, and we didn’t see the sign on the way in? I decide that my eyebrows must be being blessed by Buddha at this very moment!
Soon, the ceremony ends as our makeshift blesser stands up and we leave the dark room and go back out into the sunshine with confused looks on our faces. Am I supposed to pay this guy? Leave him a tip? I walk away with no idea of what just happened, but I leave with my eyebrows feeling especially lush and gorgeous.