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