Day 44 1036 days to go. Distance: today: 12km total 2326km. It’s 7.30am Friday 13/1/2012 bus route to phenom phen. It was ‘still dark’ o’clock this morning when we headed to the bus stop so it was a bit tricky finding the signs but we got there a bit late but Eventually. I’ve just had a read through the posts from Angkor. It’s nice to check out the posts and photos. I’ll upload the photos later today for you. I must firstly apologies for all the typos that make reading a bit tricky at times. I havnt been proof reading the posts happy to just have them uploaded with details while still fresh. However I’ll make a point of checking them so you don’t have to decrypt too much particularly when predicted text has been inserted out of context. That aside its cool to read over first draft stuff it’s kinda raw and candid I like it. The historical info is taken from lonely planet. it’s a resource you can manage without but it shaves some of the guess work out and the town maps are gems to navigate when arriving in places at the end of long days when the heads a bit spent.
I’ve been thinking about the intent of my travels in particular experiencing more about the world and being less ignorant about it. Undoubtedly contact with everyday folk provides rich opportunity for this. Home stays are ways you can have this experience and in return your money goes direct to the host family. It seems however that arranging home stays is currently through tourist or volunteering centers and as part of organized tours or project work. I think this is great for that client group but misses the independent traveler of which there are many. Independent travelers do so to personalize and enrich their experience and would be an ideal target group for home stays. A bucket wash, basic dinner/breakfast and a mattress on the floor would not be everyone’s cup of tea so it would not take away from the guesthouse industry. However having access to families prepared to offer travelers this experience would be wonderful. Alternately it has meant I approach families and ask if I may pitch my tent and this mostly has been ok. This approach however is confronting also for the family and it would be better knowing they offer this opportunity to the traveller when able. I see examples of NGO and other community development work aimed to improve standard of living for those in need. This is such needed and commendable work helping those less fortunate. However these same people poor in resources and assets are rich in other ways we can learn much from. Westerners are proned to feeling unfulfilled and accumulating more stuff to fill this emptiness. Valuing assets as indication of success in our commercial world is also a biggy. These people live relatively substandard with few assets but are generally happy and content. The tourist industry serves the tourist but does not provide rich experience . Travelers open to difference, learning and change seek experience to facilitate this and the everyday folk provide this already. They certainly don’t need us to help them out with this stuff. In turn we can pay them for this opportunity. This industry potential is based on a healthy mutual respect for needs and cuts out the middle man wanting to make a buck out of the situation. Really good food for thought for those who love the gift of independent travel.
It’s 8.11pm Friday 13/1/2012 Phenom Phen. The afternoon has flown and I didn’t realize the time until I’ve sat down now at the Internet café to upload the photos fromAngkor. Time flies when you’re doing cool stuff and I have been. I’ve just had my first Skype date with my parents. Aren’t they out of control clever and IT all over it? I’m so proud of them. Fun and loved it and we even have another date in the morning as we got disconnected before finishing our chats. I still have a few things to organize before heading off toVietnamso I’m here for one more day tomorrow to give myself a chance to get organized. Rube needs attention – she got battered a bit on the bus ride and some bits came loose which I eventually found in the luggage compartment but lost her seat post screws. I’ll crack some “screws loose” jokes once she calms down it’s a bit early for the Virgo. Not a biggy to fix as I since found spares that will do the trick but it didn’t stop me giving the luggage man a blast for rushing the situation. ”Sorry Miss” he called out as they started reversing out. It was out of my mouth what I thought of their care factor about my Rubes. On a positive there was no bloodshed and he just smiled at me so I walked off trying to recall something I said about acting respectfully grrrr. I returned to the same hotel and found my gear all waiting safe and sound yay. It’s been an afternoon of doing some have-to’s in an attempt to head tomorrow but ran out of hours in the day so tomorrow I’ll sort the rest tomorrow. I want to bring some time frames together to meet up with friends in Hoi An and Family inBeijingso its’ well worth the extra day to bring that stuff together. The photos fromAngkorare uploading as I type very excited to add them to the posts. On the bus today I met this group of five cyclists fromChina. How cool is that. They gave me a neck scarf to pull up over my nose when it’s dusty, a little flag with their cycling logo and an email contact once I’m inChina. Very cool. I think I mentioned I lost Rube’s dinky flag so I’m on a mission now to find a plastic post to mount her new one which is Red and not yellow much to her delight. Ruby winged all the way throughThailandthat her dinky flag made her feel like a lollypop lady. For those not familiar with Lollypop ladies they are volunteers (usually woman) who keep traffic control at pedestrian crossings for school children. They are dressed in bright yellow accessories to stand out. MMMM maybe it was Ruby who “misplaced” the flag on the long boat to Luang Prabang. Full points to the girl for strategy I say (She so has me wrapped around her peddles and knows it) J I’m not sure which way I’ll head toVietnamand will have a look at the map tonight over dinner. Time is somewhat a factor with other priorities so I’ll see what I can bring together tomorrow. The photos have taken longer than initially thought to upload into the blog so I’ll come back tomorrow and attach them to the posts. One extra day won’t make a difference most of you are sleeping anyway J Talk soon x