||A few months wandering
through Asia can produce profound changes in your perspective and values.
When Carol and I first landed in Bangkok back in early September we were
overwhelmed by the noise, the air and the traffic.
Last week when we cruised through the city a second time
after a couple months in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, it all seemed so quiet
and ordinary. Having survived Hanoi and Saigon, Bangkok's traffic was a
piece of cake, no problem!
Getting out of Cambodia was a challenge. All the
nasty stories they tell you about the roads in that country are true.
On the bright side, the rainy season has finished there, and our journey
was much better than it could have been. We'd had a couple of people
give us their first-hands accounts of "the bus ride from Hell" through
It's been intense and exhausting, particularly the past
three weeks. Still, I can't think of a place we've visited that I
wouldn't mind going back to and exploring further... well, two places perhaps,
but they were just stops along the road.
December 3 -- We've found a quiet little spot in the south of
Thailand, about 1000 kilometers from Bangkok (an overnight train, two busses,
a tuk-tuk and a boat). We're in Krabi Province at a place called
Railay Beach. It's been 80 days since we arrived in Asia. I
think we'll stay put for a while.
There's an eclipse of the sun tomorrow in southern Australia.
Alas we'll miss it, but our friends David and Harvie from London, whom
we travelled with in Vietnam and Cambodia, headed down for it a few days
ago. We're going to have to work on our timing. We were 12
days early for the José Carreras concert at Angkor Wat, accompanied
by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra (we'll catch it next year on PBS, no
doubt), two weeks off for the lunar lanterns night in Hoi An, and we left
Laos just as the dragon boat races were starting in Vientiane. Next
time we'll have to plan a bit more extensively.
This is a good place for reflecting on the adventures and the people,
the surprises and the hardships. We're in another world here.
Laos, was great, my favourite place, I think. People in Cambodia
were so friendly, but what a desparate and devastated country! Vietnam
was intense, and fascinating. Thailand is charming. Each are so different,
lots of new phrases and bits of language to master. Many stories
to be told...