Monday, August 11

A different kind of blue

It is the easiest thing in the world to slip into a routine. Almost unbeknownst-like, with a cunning only the weird would attribute to it, Time tends to just slip away even when fun is nowhere on the menu.

It had been almost 3 months since I started working in Phnom Penh and it struck me that I had not yet gone on a holiday. Sure, there were rare weekend jaunts around Phnom but when one lives in a city 1/3rd the size of Pune, those jaunts teeter on the verge of becoming extinct. And so, I woke up one Monday morning to the disturbing thought that I'd been at work every day (including the weekends) for over a month. Something drastic was called for. Having alienated myself from all prospective companions quite some time ago, the farther destinations were out of the question. Apart from the fact that travelling alone is not something I care to do, the rural hinterlands of Cambodia are not to be risked even by the zaniest of people. So, I went to visit Angkor Wat.

Siem Reap, the town closest to Angkor, would have had a very different and dubious claim to fame had it not been fortuitous enough to have located itself where it did. In the 3 days that I was there, I saw more lizards per square inch than I have ever seen before and possibly will again. For unknown reasons, this bustling and whimsically charming tourist town attracts specimens, possibly of the Hemidactylus garnotii and Hemidactylus frenatus in disturbing numbers. The Carlsbad of the reptile world, as it were. Speaking of disruption, two worthy members of that family spent their nights reminding me rather loudly that I was only a guest in that hotel room while they were the undisputed permanent residents. It's one thing to 'chuck' loudly at frequent intervals but another to decide that my bed is their playground. Needless to say, I slept or rather attempted to sleep, with the lights on.

Inevitably, once the routine had been broken I found myself involved in plans to go to other places. This weekend, we were to go to Preah Vihear but the weather chose to intervene and that was out. Sihanoukville and it's beaches and watering holes were also out thanks to the rains. I was rescued from the jolly prospect of another weekend of television by my office colleague who invited us (moi and the other intern) to join her family for an outing to a local picnic spot. I'm glad we went because it was one of those precious few days that can truly be called idyllic.

Gently swinging in a hammock, a cold beer to help things along...
Somewhere in that borderland between sleep and wakefulness...
Only hearing busy chatter & laughter...
Eyes opening to the sight of freshly cut fruit...

We rounded off the trip by visiting temple ruins dating older than Angkor Wat, making them about 1100 years old. Came home to a soothing shower and went out for a soul-mellowing, spicy meal followed by chocolate ice cream. Slept off listening to old Kishor songs.

There are days & then there are days.

Oh yea... if you are sharp enough to not ask why I haven't rhapsodised about Angkor, À votre bon coeur !.

Oh yea 2... While Man U scrape through and win another one, India do not disappoint. Or do, depending on your view. 

Song for the moment: 2AM - Anna Nalick