Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas from Sihanoukville, Cambodia

I finally left Thailand, but only because my visa ran out. The first thing that struck me in Cambodia, having only been here a matter of minutes, was the gap between the haves and the have-nots. It's heartbreaking. There has been much growth over the past few years, and it's not cheap to eat as a tourist, yet most of the needy don't benefit. It's so terribly sad.

Quite fitting then that I landed here for Christmas. Although I am away from home, at least I have one. In Cambodia rising income inequality is having a profound effect, fueling human rights violations across the country. I don't want to get too morbid on Christmas day, but I'm in a country where human trafficking and land grabbing (where whole villages are displaced) is rife.

As you tuck into your turkey and rip open your Christmas presents, give a thought to those less fortunate. We may be experiencing hard times economically, but at least we are not being thrown out of our homes or sold into prostitution.

I don't feel sad being away for Christmas, instead I feel blessed that I have a safe and secure home and friends and family that miss me. I've had a lovely day on the beach and even watched a rubbish Christmas movie. My Christmas eve lunch was chicken from a market stall for one dollar. It was so boney that I suspect it may have been something else. Dog or sparrow anyone (they are popular meats in Cambodia)? I'm not sure what's worse as there has recently been a bird flu outbreak not so far from here. Let's hope I make it to the new year.......

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Full Moon, Koh Chang, Thailand (still)

Well after last night's full moon party I don't have it in me to write a blog, so you'll have to make do with another journal entry. Also, I'm sure none of you want to hear about what I got up to at the party........

weds 10 december

I felt compelled to write today today to record what will probably be the most amazing place I stay on my trip. I am swaying peacefully in my bamboo hammock, outside my baby blue water bungalow at the Blue Lagoon.

I have only moved 5k down the road since I arrived over 2 weeks ago. There are breathtaking views either side of me. To my left lush, mountainous rain forest, to my right the water opens out onto a quiet white sand beach fringed with palm trees. The only sound disturbing the gentle bird song and the occasional hum of a wooden fishing boat, is of a monk chanting in the still waters whilst performing a fascinating bathing ritual. His robes reminiscent of the brilliant crimson sunsets I see every evening. As I lie here watching the fish underneath my hammock, I think that so far this is my favourite place on earth, apart from home that is.

Miss you all loads. Merry Christmas. I'm heading to an orphans' Christmas in Cambodia. I thought great, I'll get to do something worthy. It turns out that I am one of the orphans; it's a gathering for lone travellers.

Vic xx

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Koh Chang, Thailand

My journal entry today:

"The sun is setting over the clear blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand. I am sat at a quiet cafe at the end of a tranquil beach on the island's White Sands resort. My home is Bo's Huts, a lucky find for a weary, lone traveller at 8pm last night. Everyone is so welcoming. I find myself here having detoured on the way to Cambodia, thanks to Len, a friendly Aussie who sang Koh Chang's praises. I can see why.

My hut is far above ground-level, with a backdrop of lush emerald-green forest and rugged mountains populated with monkeys, who were scrambling on my roof as I drifted off to sleep. The sounds are mesmerising. I awoke to the whispering sound of the waves crashing against the shore, just metres away from my hut. It's quite something arriving in the calm candlelight, then waking up in a beautiful resort in all it's glory. What a perfect start to my trip.

Today of course is a special day of remembrance. The anniversary of the day my father sadly passed away. A day which undoubtedly was the catalyst for this trip, a day which has changed my life irrevocably. He wrote a sonnet encouraging one to live every day as if it were the last. The long hours spent chained to a desk now seem a world away, a world to which I hope never to return. I have a new world ahead of me. As I watch the vermillion sun set gently over a fishing boat bobbing in the turquoise waters, I have no idea what the future holds. Do I care? Not a jot.

Well that's enough of my sentimental ramblings. I'll write my next installment from Cambodia, if I ever make it off this island..........."

Vic x