12.05.2010 - 17.05.2010 26 °C
The jolt of the plane impacting with the runway roused me from my sleep deprived dose and announced our arrival in the jungle shrouded region, now referred to by all the world as Cambodia.
The relaxed nature of the people was immediately suggested. We clambered down the rigged stairs-on-wheels that were propped against our A320 and walked across the bare patch of concrete that was the 'Siam Reap International Airport' runway, following a relaxed and smiling security guard towards a distant cluster of square buildings. As I glanced around I was filled with the suspicion that we could avoid the whole 'customs' hassle by just simply picking a different direction at random and wandering off.
Since arriving in this beautiful and tragic country I have become completely befuddled with emotion. I have been charmed, harassed, horrified, touched and filled absolutely, with admiration for these amazing people. Somehow, this place, with it's similar technology, street layout and sense of fashion, is somehow different.
An scene replays in my mind. Kat and I have disembarked our very own tuk-tuk following a day of temple gazing and are headed towards a 7-11. I need sweat rash cream and Kat needs, well, everything else. A small and dirty child wearing a ragged smock and no shoes, leading an even smaller, dirtier child with even fewer clothes approaches us. She weakly tugs Kat's dress and mutely performs the internationally accepted sign language of 'I'm so hungry that I might actually die'. Big, soulful, emotional eyes gaze upwards at us as she one hand points to her empty mouth.
I almost broke down and cried on the spot.
We were in Phuket (Thailand) on the 12th of May. We overnighted in a pleasant but forgettable bungalow in that forgettable city (think Asian Goldcost, without the redeeming beaches, theme-parks or beer) before rising early on the 13th to head to the worlds least charming airport (this is not true I imagine but not impressive all the same). As a reward for prompt arrival at the airport we were treated to an inexplicably long time to check our bags. There were 3 people in front of us, 4 desks open and it literally took 45 mins to check our bags. After a 40 minute internal debate (which I lost) about whether or not we could afford to purchase a bottle of Aldberg for met to share with my god father, Peter, we were on to Singapore. For those philistines of amongst you who are wondering 'what's Aldberg?', it is a pure malt, Isle of Islay scotch that I have been waiting to try for about 2 years. Next time, again.
Singapore. We were treated to 3 fantastic and relaxing days here. Arriving early on the 13th and leaving ungodly early on the 16th. On a related note. Yes. 30 minutes of sleep are more than enough for anyone. We were in 'Singa's' (as we are old hands by now) so that I could see my other family. My Godfather Peter, his beautiful wife Margie and their 3 amazing kids all live in Singapore now (traitors!). They visit Oz at least once a year but this is never enough. So now it is time to turn the tables.
'I was in the area so I thought I'd drop by, hope it's no trouble'
'Not at all, please come in'
'Oh, you are too kind. Now how about a cup of tea'
I drank three hundred and seventeen cups of tea in two days. Every one tasted delicious.
Pete and Co. are housed in what is referred to as 'a landed community' just outside the international college that seemed to form the epicenter of pre-university education in Singapore. The kids have all attended this extremely frustrating school and I an surprised that none of them have had the decency to decency to sabotage school property, possibly because their mum Margie works there and she would be on to them in a flash. Allow me to explain.
The school literally backs on to their NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOURS PROPERTY. They live, what I estimate to be, at best, 25 meters from the school grounds. However it seems that Greta, Tom and Pia are not allowed to pass through the 4 meters of their neighbors property to attend school/ The result of this is a walk that involves a four hour hike up one side and down the other, of a mountain. Whilst lugging a 15 kilo haversack and dodging ingeniously unpredictable instruments of death, designed to catch out the unwary. Bear in mind that this all needs to be done in an environment in which you break into a sweat just standing still, under an air-conditioner. Our lawyers have asked me to mention that the walk is actually about 15 minutes in length. Up a small incline. Carrying their school books. Oh, and the death machines are cars. But still!
Wow! I really need to cut down on the length of me entries. Stupid lack of blogging skills.
Singapore was terrific. On Friday Kat and I caught the bus into and out of the city. Without incident. This is proof that we are intelligent, seasoned travelers. Yes. Because we caught a bust. Yes, in a city where they speak English. Look, just shut up will you.
Whilst in the city Kat and I wandered around china town, visited the oldest Hindu temple and visited the Asian Civilisation’s Museum. The museum was absolutely amazing. The best I’ve ever been too. They had a display entitled ‘Treasury of the World’. This involved a staggering number of jewels from India, along with a significant display of ancient and ‘magical’ weapons. How happy were we? Photo’s will follow when I upload them.
For the rest of our stay at my new favorite haven, I just laid around the house. Hogging the computer and soaking up tea and hospitality with equal capacity. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. On the last night our hosts took Kat and I out to dinner. First buying me a pint of Kilkenny at an english pub on the river, then feeding us some excellent indian down the ‘strip a bit. I don’t care what any of them are running for. They have my vote.
Oh and for the record, Kat and I won the Wii Celebrity Trivial Pursuit contest. Hands down (quiet Tom, don’t ruing my story).
Ok. So once again I have waffled on a bit. Huge surprise.
Basically the title of this article/blog/whatever indicates that I am now completely at home with doing nothing (which exactly what I want to do a large amount of the time).
Till next time.