The Cork Board

Oh, the wind and the rain…


Winter is firing some serious warning shots across the bows of HMS Blighty, and all that talk of how lovely Autumn is has quickly turned to “Cor, Ginger, dashed parky in the regions”. Perhaps it is the chilly winds of Brexit.

I wonder what it is like living in a country where there are only two seasons, wet and dry, like sandpaper. It has to be boring, doesn’t it, living in sunshine all the time? No itching of dry skin. No wandering around with a tissue box strapped to your hip. No layering of clothing so that you resemble a bear when outside but immediately strip like a Chippendale the moment you enter a coffee shop.

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A Chippendale…

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…another

All the advice we read for our trip to Cambodia said that we should pack an extra layer for the cool evenings. Fortunately we ignored it. Nothing would have looked more ridiculous than throwing a jumper over our shoulders in 25 degrees of midnight heat.
I suppose you get used to heat.I’d love to. How delightful it would be to throw away all your winter wools, heavy coats, thermal underwear, and just keep a brolly for the wet season – or not even that.

Kampot street night

There were some wonderful thunder storms in Kampot. We experienced a spectacular night with a power cut to enhance the drama as we watched from the dingy safety of a riverside bar. But torrential rain didn’t stop motorcyclists and scooterists wooshing by in just a t-shirt and helmet. ‘Insane!’ I thought. Life still going on with a smile instead of a shudder. 

There is a travel blog over here which I read from time to time and with my memories of Cambodia still fresh I entered the “Travel Highlights in 100 words” competition. Indeed, there were so many, but here are my entries. (I don’t think I’m breaking any rules.)

I hope you like them and that they evoke a memory or two of your own adventures.

The Battambang Bamboo Train …ready to roll

The Battambang Bamboo Train

When we dripped from the bus the track was clear.

Two paper thin men lifted a pair of loose axles onto the rails. A bamboo board loaded with a boat motor rested between them. An axle hooked to the motor with a cam belt.

Warily, we scrambled aboard, settling to the middle.

Thin Man One yanked the starter cord and we lurched, grabbing handholds. 

“Must get to the station before the real train comes”, shouted Thin Man Two above the din.

We hurtled along at ground level. I was ten years old again being fast, naughty and slightly dangerous.

The Blessing

We agreed that he was beautiful. The young shaven monk, twenty years old at most, amber robed and with skin as smooth as silk, sat smiling contentedly at the ungainly Westerners ranged before him. Each of us would receive a blessing, when, in turn, we shuffled forward, place our palms together and bend in supplication. He acknowledged each ungainly wobble on knees no longer fit for purpose. 

A short prayer in Khmer, for our knees, probably. A red band tied around our wrists to signify the blessing.

Six weeks later I still wear the band. My knees are holding out.

4 thoughts on “Oh, the wind and the rain…”

  1. Thanks for keeping the memories alive.
    The warm 24/7 in Brisbane is okay but I hanker for the seasons.
    Are we never to content or is it the greener grass over yonder…

  2. Wonderful snapshots (and writing) of your Cambodian experience Al. The bamboo train was an unexpected highlight for me, maybe my last grab at the unbridled joy of childhood. Love to you and Fi from sweltering Qld

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