6pm ain't 6am
Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
86Trip End Jul 27, 2011
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Where I stayed
Floating on the Mekong, no overnight
On the Mekong River now, I sit in a slow boat, all my jiggly bits vibrating from the energy of the engine. On the riverside, life is passing by. People live in rickety stilt houses made of wood, bamboo and corrugated tin or on boat houses. Kids wave at us from the shore, their floating homes or canoes. I'll miss the frequent sight of peaceful, lazy water buffaloes. I know I'll still have the chickens and roosters in Phnom Penh.
It's barely past 10am when we pass a wedding. I would have mistaken it for a bar or club, had our tour guide not told us that it is a wedding. People are sitting around on the typical little plastic stools and loud techno music is blaring across the river
Next, a family of ducks waddling out out of the water, then kids splashing around, swimming, waving, more boats in washed out colours, tree roots, local Mekong people going about their daily business or napping in hammocks or bathing. And so the scene repeats itself.
My tour guide is resting her feet on my backpack. I am too exhausted to do or say anything.
At the border, I watch tiny men with steal bodies pulling in fish nets. Two of them lift out their net together in a synchronized, smooth motion. A well rehearsed dance, like a pas-de-deux.
My new visa sticker welcomes me back to Cambodia. 3 more hours on the river. The buffaloes have given way to cows on the Cambodian side of the Mekong. There are fewer fishing activities to be observed (maybe because it is afternoon?). Every few hundred meters, kids are waving at us, showing off and splashing excitedly in the water. People are bathing themselves and their cattle.
This visit should be a little different. I am returning to Encounters/Nomads Backpackers hostel to help out for a few days, get a sense for the business side of backpacking and a little taste of the expat working life
On the last trip leg, one hour in a mini bus, I am reading Martel's 'Life of Pi’, which touches me with its beautiful language. It makes me want to wrap what I see in words just as beautiful and metaphoric for you to imagine what I see on my travels. I feel humbled at my amateurish writing attempts. Probably not a valid aspiration, to compare myself to an award winning, best-selling author. It reminds me how prone I am to compare myself to others. Such an easy trap to fall into that has often held me back, or even made me feel inferior. I know that life isn’t about comparisons, just the way I am confident that the ‘normal’ life my mother wishes for me would only serve her personal definition of ‘normal’. Yet I find it hard to stay away from this comparison game, always have. Even though I know that I have inspired a person or two. I’ll try practice basking in that knowledge some more then, shall I?!
Those last few thoughts took me a while to decide to actually share here. For some time I was hesitant wondering if this is getting too personal. It wouldn’t be the first time, I write stuff that’s going through my head