Tuesday, 25 December 2012

...Cambodia Calling 13 - Final Farewell.

So today is my last day, pretty ironic it is also Christmas day. Merry Christmas guys, I hope each and everyone of you is doing something really special. As you've guessed from the title (well I least I hope you've guessed, if not then well, the less said about that...) this is the last posting from Cambodia. So sad. It's been such a wonderful journey and three months have seriously flown by. I've grown (I hope) as an individual, I have learnt to embrace the beauty in life and discard all the shit that I've carried around with me for the past God knows how many years. It's been a long journey but here I am, on the brink of a bigger adventure, the next chapter and who knows what it may hold but I hope I go into it bringing all the strength, power and love Cambodia has given me. I love this country, it has my heart and one day, hopefully, I will be able to come back and retrieve it.

I'm going to leave you on Christmas day with a list of all my favourite moments in Cambodia and maybe if you're lucky a few pictures to go with the story as well.

Things I love in no particular order:

- Tuk Tuks.
- Oliver.
- Angkor Famous. I don't think I will ever get two kick arse cocktails for $3 anywhere, ever again.Ever.
- Thidas house.
- All the wonderful people I've met.
- Sunrises.
- Sunsets. I really like sunsets.
- The stars at night.
- Waterfalls.
- Angkor beer.
- Cycling home at night.
- Davy the tailor. I think I will miss her the most.
- The revenge of Rabies road.
- Sitting up till the early hours of the morning chatting shit.
- The beautiful wonderful children from work and all the ones that smile as you pass on a bike. Or in my case stare at me like I'm some sort of alien.
- My room.
- Geckos!!!
- Cows.
- All the wonderful people in Cambodia.

So Merry Christmas one and all and I will see you in Thailand. Goodbye Cambodia, it's been an experience.

Big Cambodian Ocean Crossing Christmas love ya'll.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

...Cambodia Calling 12 - Battambang.

So last weekend a bunch of us decided to put on our adventurer hats and take a trip to Battambang - pronounced BattamBONG. Confusing yet utterly brilliant right? It's such a beautiful city, it reminded me a bit of Phnom Penh but it was a thousand times nicer. It still had a lot of the architecture that Phnom Penh has but it's not so busy and everything closes at 11pm. So if your looking for a raucous night out then Battambang isn't the city to do it in.

The adventure started the same way all adventures do - on a bus. This was my first ride on a big bus and to be honest it wasn't as scary as taking those bloody mini vans. I guess it's because 1.  the bus is a hell of a lot bigger then a mini van and 2. no one can really argue with a big bus, they just get out of the way instead. So we leave early in the morning, get picked up by the skanky mini van and dropped off in town to board our big one. The journey there wasn't too bad, the driver did decide to leave us for half an hour in a random town to do whatever important things he thought he needed to do in the middle of a shift. But hey,  I'm not complaining. When we do finally make it to our destination we get hounded by the tuk tuk drivers (so typical) and they all want you to do their tour (which we didn't, we took the one the hostel was offering which was cheaper) there was a creepy tuk tuk guy who didn't want to take us to our hostel because apparently the hostel didn't like him. Tough shit mate, you shouldn't have agreed to drive us there in the first place! He kept badgering us to let him take us around the town and once we got to the hostel he gave me his business card and told me to call him if we wanted a tour. Clearly I didn't.

We then settled in, had a yummy lunch and then jumped in our tuk tuk to our first adventurer stop - the bamboo train. The ride in the tuk tuk was a little bit long but we got to see a load of the countryside which was nice. Once we got to the bamboo train we were greeted by a really friendly police man who gave us his little spiel and showed us the direction we had to head in but whoa! Who did we happen to bump into? That's right, creepy tuk tuk man. He did not look happy to see us and muttered something under his breath and gave us all death stares. Oh well, never mind the bamboo train was calling us.

It was so cool, it is a platform made out of bamboo with a cut out bit for the engine and it all sits on metal wheels and the engine chugs it along the tracks, it looks like this:


After such a fun filled morning we then headed straight to the mountain to go do some hiking - in flip flops, again. We get there and lo and behold who is behind us? Creepy tuk tuk man! This is when it stopped being funny and a little bit scary...

There were so many pretty temples up the mountain, I took a picture of the inside of this one because I love the colours. The whole temple was decorated in the same bright colours and it was so beautiful to look at. Next came the killing caves and I didn't want to go in. It was such a strange experience, right before the opening of the cave, where the stairs were the air felt instantly cold. As is someone had sucked all the life out of it but when I took one step back it was hot again. That really unnerved me and yeah it may be me being a little superstitious but I've learnt to follow my gut and my gut said no, so I didn't go down to the base of the cave. I just stood on the stairs for what felt like forever and then left.

We then bumped into a few monks who we got chatting to. One asked me why my skin was so dark if I am from London, I just smiled and told him there are many different types of people in London with many different skin colours. I don't think my answer was a sufficient one cos looked at me like I was crazy... They showed us to the top of the mountain which was another long walk but it was absolutely beautiful - well worth the hike.

To round of the day we made it down to the bottom of the mountain to watch the fruit bats flying out of the cave at exactly 5.50pm, which is the time they all go hunting for insects etc, it was so cool and such a lovely end for the day and that's exactly what I'm going to end this blog with folks. It's a video (obviously...!) so please enjoy.

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll.

Monday, 17 December 2012

...Cambodia Calling 11 - Last Day at Work.

So Friday was my last day at work, which on one hand was brilliant and on the other hand it was really sad. It has been such a crazy 3 months, I've done so much, I've had good times and some not so good times. I counted down the days to the very last day and now it's been and gone I'm a little lost. My boss cried which was pretty weird, I wasn't sure what I could do about it so I just sort of stood there but when old people cry it makes me cry! Other then that I'm going to miss all my little kids and I don't think they fully understood that I won't be coming back. My big ones got it, I think, they all gave me such big hugs before they left and one of them made me little origami cranes, stars, love hearts and a giant ball/star. I was really touched, it must have taken her so long to make them all and I really appreciate it. Now the only problem is how to get it home! I don't want it to be crushed and I really want to hang it up when I get back so any suggestions on how to bring it home safely will be much appreciated!!

I took lots of pictures of my kids and of my way home from work. I managed to cycle and take pictures so I think my cycling has improved dramatically from the first day, seeing as on the first day I fell of my bike in the middle of traffic...oops! So this blog will be mainly pictures mi amigas, I hope you enjoy taking a look!

 Somnang with the little ones in the Kindergarten.

Me and the little ones - they are so cute!

Doorway of the pagoda that I cycle past everyday.

Full view of the pagoda. Such a beautiful place to cycle through.

My big kids and I. Going to miss their cheeky faces!

The second pagoda I cycle past at sunset.

Photo exhibition by Pablo Bartholomew. He's such a brilliant photographer go check him out online - do it now! 
 Cycling home.
 Roads don't look too busy but they were! At those times I thought it best to put my camera away and concentrate on not dying...
Oliver and I on our way home.
Approaching chocolate road.

So here you go! I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures and there will be many more to follow!

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

...Cambodia Calling 10 - Landmines, Waterfalls and Another Farewell.

So it's been an eventful weekend fellow cyber trekkers. After a long week it was really nice to relax and go hang out at a waterfall. Again! Getting up at 6 in the morning after 4 hours sleep wasn't very nice but it was worth it.

After getting on the road we then had the option of stopping at the landmine museum which I was very happy about seeing as I had planned to go once I finished work, so that was a big bonus. It is such an inspirational place, the man who founded it and still runs it is called Aki Ra (totally thought of Japanese anime the first time I heard his name) and he is a former child soldier for the KR. He was trained to fight and to lay land mines around the Cambodia - Thai border. He defected from the KR when he was a teenager and joined the Vietnam army to fight back and after that he dedicated his life to removing all land mines in Cambodia and training other people to do it his way (which is the total crazy way, he uses a sharp stick, his hands and sometimes a wrench...). It is predicted he has removed over 50,000 land mines himself and the number is even more when you factor in all the ones he has removed with his team of over 1,000 dedicated land mine removal staff (which are mostly army guys whom he trains). Within the museum there is also a school for children who have been affected by land mines.

This is a case showing some of the land mines and the missiles that Aki Ra and his team have deactivated. There were so many different ones within that case and even more in the museum. Not everything they deactivate are land mines, if you look really closely you can see a few missiles as well.

After mooching around the museum we climb back into our mini van and continue our journey up to the waterfall. It was relatively pleasant, only the usual bumps and jiggles you get with a Cambodian road but then came the mountain. I was so scared, it was so steep I seriously thought we were going to roll backwards and off the mountain and never be seen again. The poor mini van kept groaning and at one point we all thought that it may be a good idea to just get out and walk! But the treacherous climb was worth it, the waterfall was absolutely beautiful.

 It's so purdy!! I couldn't hold back my excitement and decided to run into the water and then realised my mistake. The water was absolutely freezing. However this still didn't stop me from attempting to go behind the water and peek out like a little rabbit in a hole. That was even colder. I felt like I was hyperventilating, the water was cold, fast flowing and pounded on my head and my chest like nothing I've felt before, I only stayed behind there long enough to take a few pictures then I bailed. I'm such a smart girl! I don't think I'll be doing that again any time soon, I've learnt my lesson....

After lunch we went trekking in the forest up to the temple - trekking in sandals may I add, which is not a smart move especially when you are told not to step off the path because there may be poisonous snakes/spiders/plants lurking in the bushes waiting to cause you some serious damage - cheers jungle. But it's pretty hard to trek in the jungle/bush area with only sandals - I don't recommend it. If you know you're going trekking always, ALWAYS wear hiking boots. You don't want to accidentally slip, stumble off the path and into the eager, waiting clutches of a deadly poisonous snake. Hmmmm.

So all in all it was a good but exhausting day. I had a very good time chilling in freezing cold water (I decided to go in once more at the bottom, cos you know I obviously thought my body was impenetrable and the cold wouldn't affect me. It had absolutely nothing to do with the 5 beers I had previously drunk...) but I was ready to go home, get warm again and have some dinner. 

That night was the last night in Cambodia for Emily (DS), Emily (Spuddy) and Katie (KLS), they were heading to Thailand to spend Christmas on the beach! It was sad but I wasn't totally distraught this time, mainly because 1. we all live in England so it will be pretty easy to see each other again and 2. I'm seeing Emily (DS) at the end of Jan in Thailand for one last crazy night out before we both have to head home. I'm looking forward to it so much, she is such a crazy girl (in fact they all are) and I do really miss having my Brits around me but we will meet again. Like I always say it is never goodbye, it's an I'll see you later. Steph and Nina leave tomorrow *sigh* and then come Monday it will be Thirza, Kai and myself packing up but I won't be moving on (only to a hostel) and Thirza and Kai will go to join the Emily's and Katie in Thailand, Nina goes to spend Christmas with her family and Steph goes to join her boyfriend in Australia. I'm going to miss them, Siem Reap won't be the same without them. I'll try my best not to cry but I can't promise anything. We have planned a massive get together next year, so I am very much looking forward to that.

But for now I'm going to go and have some lunch before I head back to work - oh did I mention I only have 3 AND A HALF MORE DAYS TO GO???!!! I cannot bloody wait. I'm going to SLEEP without the constant barking of those bloody dogs, the cats humping and the building work starting at 5 in the morning! Wooooooo!

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll.

P.S I forgot to mention I finally got me some of this:

It tasted AMAZING.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

...Cambodia Calling 9 - Corn.

So for the past week I have been obsessed with corn. I want, nay I need, to eat me some corn. I don't know why I just really, really want some.

It started last week when Jenni and I were cycling back from work and we passed a guy selling corn and I was like "Ahhh! Corn!" But I couldn't stop to get the delicious smelling corn because one: I was running late for an English lesson and two: I had no money on me. It sucked. I was so hungry and it smelt so good but I figured that he'd be there tomorrow because you know everyone wants corn, what crazy person doesn't?

The next day arrived and I was armed with some money but he wasn't there. He wasn't there on the way to work and he wasn't there on the way home. Gutted. The next day the same thing happened, this is when the hunt really began, I was so determined to find me a man selling corn that even when I cycled into town I was sure, so sure that I would find someone, but there wasn't anyone! Not one person selling corn! It then became a mission, a need, to hunt down whoever was selling corn and to buy it. All of it. Then consume it, letting the juicy, corny goodness into my soul and nourish me. (It's a wee bit like food porn isn't it? Very sorry...)

I still haven't had any corn. I think it's a conspiracy. Whenever I'm hungry and I'm looking for corn there is no one around, only the pancake guys and the weird snail/cockle men, (but really who wants to eat snails and cockles?) and then when I've given up and decided to eat a proper dinner there they are! (Corn is actually a very healthy dinner.) The bastards! They know I have no space for their delicious corn and they taunt me with it. I'm so angry! I just want some corn! Is that too much to ask? Am I wanting too much? Do they not want my money? WHY WON'T THEY LET ME HAVE ANY?

I feel like this could affect me, you know, deep down, psychologically scared for life. So much so that even when I go home I can't look corn in the eye, it'll be too painful. 

You're probably wondering how I've managed to write a whole blog about corn but if you know me well, you know I like me some corn. At home I eat it out of the tin. Just for a snack you know, it's delicious and nutritious and a lot better then eating a packet of digestive biscuits so WHY WON'T THEY LET ME EAT CORN? I think I may need to take this to the PM. I think I may actually have a problem...I think I should let it go, I probably won't though.

On other non corn related notes I officially have 9 working days left. Huzzah! I also have this whole week off because of the water festival, which is cool, it means I can relax and not have to always be rushing around all sweaty and dishevelled. I can actually cycle for pleasure. It's all very weird and wonderful. I'm actually considering buying a bike when I get home, I really enjoy riding Oliver (hahaha! Riding Oliver, get it? Get it?) and I think I will miss the exercise when I get back. We will see, I don't think London would appreciate my Cambodian style cycling on their streets. It's the only way I know how to cycle now, it's not my fault and it actually makes a lot more sense to weave in and out of the traffic ignoring the toots from the cars and the buses (I'm basically just trying to justify my crazy cycling...)

I also said goodbye to another Thida girl. It's gonna be like this for the next 3 weeks, more and more of us are leaving, it's so sad. So I said goodbye to Phavy and luckily I got to take her to the airport which was so emotional and I really didn't want to say goodbye. (I don't think I can handle anymore goodbyes, it's really taking it's toll on me). However, like I said to her, this isn't goodbye, it's just see you later. The beautiful thing is it's a bond (hopefully) for life. Phavy if you're reading this you cannot escape me. It's too late, I've latched on...I just want to let you all know how amazingly wonderful, caring and dirty minded Phavy is. I don't think anyone has made me laugh that hard in a long time. I'm gonna miss it. Who shall I make dirty jokes with now? Who?! I'm just gonna end up being wildly inappropriate with everyone and that's gonna get me nowhere (Phavy this is technically you're fault), or it may get me somewhere..! Ich liebe dich Phavy. You are my star and I love you to bits.

Right, I need to put some clothes on and go get some lunch; just to clarify I am wearing clothes but I can't go outside in just my pants...Until next time.

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll.

Monday, 19 November 2012

...Cambodia Calling 8 - To Loose a Generation.

So this weekend was a wee bit emotional. Ronny and I popped down to Phnom Penh to drag Phavy back to Siem Reap with us and along the way we decided to pay a visit to the Killing Fields. Now I make it sound like we just popped down for a quick cup of tea and then had a jolly little nose around and then came back home but it wasn't like that. I'm not quite sure what I expected. Neat little rows of graves maybe with little white crosses to mark where the people have been buried? Or maybe just an empty field? I just know that I wasn't prepared for what I found and what I saw. I'm finding it hard to put it down properly in words so excuse me if this comes out a bit jumbled. I've been trying since Saturday to collect my thoughts but they are refusing to rest in the same place as each other.

So where to begin?

It was a lovely day, not too hot and then sun was preparing itself to set (sounds magical doesn't it?) We take a moto to get there and riding a moto in Phnom Penh is a hell of a lot scarier then riding one in Siem Reap, for one there is so much more traffic and for two the people don't really give a shit if they crash into you. This was made all too real when a truck loomed out of nowhere and all I could think of was how to protect my head if I happened to hit the ground. Thankfully it didn't happen but I now know how I will save myself giving the circumstance (dramatic aren't I? I bet most people on a moto are thinking about the breeze in their hair and how wonderfully exhilarating the whole experience is).

So we get there, pay to get in and collect our headsets. There are a few tourists still hanging about and most of them are giggling, which gives the false impression that this is going to be a lovely experience. The first thing I saw was the memorial stupa and to be honest the only reason it caught my eye was because the first two levels (which were completely glass windows) had rows and rows of human skulls, sitting there, staring back at you. It was incredibly haunting. I don't think I can really describe what it looked like and the feeling you get when once you have finished the "tour" and realise where and how the skulls came to be there.

We went on and saw a lot of excavated graves and non excavated graves and specially cordoned off ones for, well, for the truly horrific deaths. I didn't take many pictures, it didn't feel right but I did take a picture of this tree:

Beautiful isn't it? There were so many bracelets on the tree that from far away you would never have any idea about the horror that has been burned into the bark. The board reads : "Killing tree against which executioners beat children".

I think this tree sums it all up for me really. The man directing our audio tour said that the KR had a saying that I can't remember properly but it was something like "pull out the roots from the tree" meaning take care of the children so that they can never exact revenge for what we do to their parents. I can never ever in my wildest nightmares imagine something so horrifying as this. The Cambodian people have lost a whole generation, not just the younger ones that would have been in their early/mid thirties but also their elders. Everyone. Gone. Wiped out for no apparent reason. I've been trying to make sense of this, I've been trying to see if there was at least some pattern, some thought behind any of this and I haven't been able to come up with any answers. I have never felt so sad before. Maybe sad isn't a strong enough word but I really can't think of a better one right now. I have so much more respect and love for Cambodians, to come through so much atrocity and still hold so much love in their heart's for mankind is something truly remarkable. It just goes to show you never know the scares that linger underneath a society until you take a closer look.

I can't say if I am glad or not that I went. All I know is that it was an experience, one that I am still trying to wrap my mind around. I'm not sure I'll ever make sense of it.

Now that I've laid the heavy on you I should let you know that the week before this was better. I was ill, I got better and my kids made me get well cards. They are brilliant. I really adore my children. I was told that I should watch a lot of Mickey Mouse, I'm guessing he can make you better. They also asked Jen (another Thida volunteer that I work with) if I was in the hospital because I was sick. When she said no they then said why not? You should call an ambulance and she should go to the hospital. I think it just goes to show that one, they are actually paying attention in their lessons for the day before Jen taught then all about the hospital and that's where they got the idea from. Two, they do like me! Even if I'm really strict and make them do lots of work, deep down they think I'm a good teacher. It's true! I have written proof of it...

I'm gonna leave it there. My poor brain has gone into overdrive and I need to space out for a while. I have a week off next week because of the Water Festival (even though there isn't going to be a boat race because the country is still mourning the loss of the former King) so I am going to take that time to sleep, eat lots of cake, drink lots of wine and perfect my tan because frankly I'm looking a bit pale...

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll.

Monday, 12 November 2012

...Cambodia Calling 7 - Goodbye's are Never Easy.

As the title suggest this is going to be a merry little slinger. This week has had its middles, lows and very lows. Don't worry folks, it's not that serious and no I won't harm myself.

So I'm sick - again. A round of applause for my immune system it's doing a bang up job of keeping the lurgy away. I only have one question for this defunct body of mine and that is why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Do I not care for you? Love you as if you were my own? Treat you with love, kindness and compassion? I give you food, water, rum, what more do you need?! Please tell me because it seems like I am missing the point that you are trying to make to me. Do you need more rum? Is that the problem? Ok maybe that was more then one question, but once you start asking the ball just keeps rolling. What can I say, I'm a detective, remember?

"Rachel Roots" - that could be the name of my detective agency. It implies hard work, determination and no fear of getting dirty. Like really, really dirty. Prepared to jump into those big rubbish bins just to find evidence and shit. No actually shit but you know if I'm in a rubbish bin the chances are there is going to be some shit. Hopefully it's tied up in a bag. 

Gone off point! As usual, I should stop trying to mould this process and just let you read a random collection of my thoughts. I did that once, it's titled "Consciousness" and you can find it nestled in between the stories on this here blog. (Nothing like a good bit of self promotion eh?)

So I bought these tissues from a random pharmacy and (typically) I was over charged. That's not the worst part, I'm use to being charged double and 9/10 times I argue the point but I was in no position to argue this time. My nose was running and she was clearly in the whole "supply and demand" mindset, so I forked over my dollar for 2 tiny packets of tissues (it's extortion, in the supermarket it's 70 cents...) and they smell like aftershave. Men's aftershave. Now I'm all for a good smelling man but I really don't want to blow my nose with one. It's like my nose has been assaulted by a teenage boy who was giving a bottle of Joop for his birthday and now thinks he's Hugh Hefner. Not cool. (If you weren't following that whole "tissues smelling like aftershave" is the worst part). She's probably been trying to shift them for a year and no Cambodian wants to take them and then I rock up and she's like "bingo!" and thus the tale unfolds and I walk away with my nose smelling like I should be called Jack, sitting in my local, sipping on a WKD cos I think it's cool.

Blew up that point didn't I?

Well I guess that was the low and the middle is to follow.

My back got better (wooooooo!!!!) and then I got sick. End of story. That was the middle, I hope it blew your minds, I know it was super fantastic.

So the very low. *sigh*.

Today I said goodbye to Charlotte and yeah I know it's not like a proper goodbye and it's just an "I'll see you soon." But nevertheless it reduce me to a teary, snotty wreck, standing in the middle of the road, bawling like a baby. I'm just a glass cage of emotion right now. I blame the flu and the looming onset of my period (that always does strange things to my hormonal system). I'm gonna miss her though, I'm gonna miss her so much. It was such a pleasure getting to know her and we had such crazy, fantastic times that will linger in my memory long after the haze of Cambodia dies down. She is a fantastic person. There are no other words to describe her (ok the words insane, bad influence, ginger, amazing and all round brilliant spring to mind but come on now, we will just stick to fantastic).  So before I start snotting all over the place I will just say this: I have learnt here that experiences that are life changing bring you closer together, especially if you are experiencing those things together. It shows people's true colours and brings to light the sides of yourself that you try to hide. Charlotte let all those sides hang loose and never compromised on what she believed in and who she was. That is something truly amazing and shows an incredibly strong sense of character. It is something I am beginning to learn to do for myself, so I say thank you. Thank you for showing me that I do not need to compromise on who I am, your the bees knees innit? I hope she gets home safely and that the cold isn't too much of a shock to the system! Goodbye for now Bad Influence Charlotte, big love you get me? I don't think it helps that I have Avril bloody Lavigne playing round and round in my head. No Avril I don't want to keep hanging on, leave me alone and go bother someone else.

The next one to say goodbye to is Phavy but I'm not thinking about that right now. I have a whole week to prepare myself.

So I'm going to end it there and crawl into the disease hole that is now my room and try sleep off this fever. Finger's crossed I'll feel better come the morning and if not then I'll just chew on a few more paracetamols.

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll!

Friday, 2 November 2012

...Cambodia Calling 6 - Of Mice and Men.

You've probably guessed what this blog is going to about, from the title, well half guessed at least. You're a smart bunch, I'll give you that. I'll start off with the former, the topic being mice.

I think I'm becoming a wee bit obsessed with tracking and killing all mice. Not just the bastard that haunts my house but all mice. Everywhere. Even when I get home I will make it my duty to kill them all. You might think this is a bit extreme but when you are awoken at night by something falling unexplained in your room, then hearing scratching noises and scuttling you begin to imagine brilliant ways in which the mouse, who has interrupted your sleep and left you a present on top of your mosquito net, can be killed. The present on top of my mosquito net freaks me out, it means it left it while I was asleep, which therefore means IT WAS WATCHING ME SLEEP! I may be paranoid but you can't deny I would make one hell of a detective. I could call my detective agency something witty like "Rachel Reaps" or "Righteous Rachel" something along those lines, although the first name sounds more like a prostitutes street name then an upright, legal detective agency. I'll have to have a think and come back with a better name. Anyway I have moved off point, as always.

The mouse struck in the dead of night, scaling the faux marble shelves that are built to house our food and stealing a loaf of bread and scaling back down it, proceeded to eat it in the middle of the t.v room. (Sounds dramatic doesn't it?) But this is the length the little shit will go to eat. It probably gorged itself on bread and then sat on top of my mosquito net, watching me sleep, plotting my doom. I'll catch it and see it's sorted out for once and for all, then leave it somewhere all mice can see as a warning not to enter or the same thing will happen. Like they did to pirates and thieves in times of old.

I think I've gone a little mad and will stop talking about mice just in case some of you get the idea to alert PETA or the RSPCA. I love animals, really I do, mostly cats, but it's just something about these little blighters that makes me so angry! 

So moving swiftly onto the latter part of my subject material. Of men. Not actual men or the Man (he will not be referred to in this blog again (after this reference that is)) no I mean people in general. Like you know how people use the word man to mean the human race, well I'm using it in that sense also. Call it literary license or whatever.

I had to say a final goodbye today to one of the Thida girls, Mirthe. I didn't know her very long, only a few weeks but it was enough to leave a lasting impression - in a good way. She is one of those few people you meet who are genuinely kind hearted, beautiful, crazy, loving, wonderful human beings that I am so happy to have met and have good memories of. Saying goodbye was hard, it was a lot more emotional then I thought it would be, like I knew it would be sad but I didn't bargain for how sad. She is the first person I've had to say goodbye to since I've been here and unfortunately she won't be the last. God only knows how Charlotte's feeling, seeing as they were roommates for a good 2 months and you could see they were like sisters. I'll give her a big fat hug when she comes back from the airport and Phavy too. Mirthe gave me a Baht note (Thai currency) to buy myself a beer once I get to Thailand, I can't remember how much it is and that's not what matters, it's the gesture that's important and it just reinforces how fantastic she is. I said I'd take a picture of me spending it and I will be true to my word. She will be sorely missed.

Apologies fellows for the weird way I may be typing, I just finished reading a book that was based in medieval England and I can't get the way they speak out of my head. It was a good book, it kept me gripped, I read it in 4 days. It wasn't something I'd usually pick up and I feel a wee bit disturbed by it (there was an evil child in it, evil children always give me the creeps) but nonetheless it was a good story.

Lastly I have a new obsession, it's not an expensive one (thank God for that, though the rate I'm going through it, it could bloody well turn out to be) but it is a delicious one.

It's ice tea. I haven't been a fan before but my goodness it is delicious. It's only 50 cents, which is dead cheap considering in some places it's up to 5 dollars. To the left is ice tea number one and below is ice tea number 3. I didn't have time to take a picture of number 2 because I consumed it so quickly. (Don't ask me why the pictures are spaced out the way they are, blogger did it. Call it artistic license.)

Tomorrow we are off on a day trip to the flooded villages and forest, which should be good, I'm quite excited. I'll keep you all updated but for now I'm going to enjoy a nice cold beer and wait for my dinner (we have a cook in the evenings now, with a menu and everything, I'm very excited).

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Cambodia Calling 5 - It's a Halloween Special.

So as the title suggests this be a Halloween special (please read in the voice of Jack Sparrow - I'll explain later. (Just the end bit, not the beginning otherwise it'll make no sense and I can't explain that.))

I'm not one for Halloween, it's not a holiday that I celebrate or one that really gets me going but I tried my best this year and decided that even though I have absolutely no idea how to transform the clothes I have into a typical "costume" I'd give it a good bash and you know me I need no excuse to down a few drinks - I mean respectfully respect alcoholic beverages in a respectfully respecting way, of course *ahem*. Anyway I decided to be a superhero who was in her normal day clothes and not being a superhero at the present moment (which basically meant I could wear normal "going out" clothes and just bosh on some make up) but then luckily I was handed a bandanna and *poof* gangsta pirate emerged. Here take a look:

Take a really close look and you can see exactly where gangsta and pirate merge. I'm not kidding.

So the night started with an unexpected pub crawl and ended up at Angkor Wat? Unfortunately along the way several things happened. Few of those things need not be mentioned as they were mere frivolity and nothing life threatening or you know weird. One of those "things" happened to look like this:

Remember mini pirates, never drink, smoke and drive. Only do 2 of the three but not all three together because then havoc ensues. On the back of the scooter is pirate number 2! Or 3...I can't quite remember.

Disclaimer: If you're being really serious and looking at this picture like "What the **** does she think she's doing?" Then you should know that I can't drive a scooter and the picture is just for fun. Also, don't be so ridiculous. End of disclaimer.

So the night continued on in a similar fashion, most of the time I kept asking people if they had seen my sword (in the voice of Jack Sparrow) and shouting loudly that a pirate needs her rum (also in the voice of Jack Sparrow, see I said I'd explain...sort of) I even occasionally threw in a limp for good measure. The whole night was a lot of fun but then it ended abruptly at 11pm with a stomach ache (I blame all the beer...). But all in all a good night. Huzzah.

Now moving onto more important topics, I went to the tailor on Sunday and she is going to make a plethora of beautiful, pretty things that I can bring home and feel like a proper princess. It also means no one but me will be able to wear said pretty things because they have already been measured to my body. You know who I'm talking about. Don't pretend like you haven't been using my room as a walk in wardrobe *scowl*. So I am very much looking forward to cycling Oliver down to her shop at the end of the week and seeing what treasures lie in store.

Yesterday I got a proper fright. I was sitting on my bed writing my journal (yes I am keeping a journal, so? ) and out of the corner of my eye I saw something move. I turned and saw nothing, so naturally I went back to writing in said journal. Then again, another flash and this time I got a good look. It was a mouse. Not the mouse but A mouse. In my house! How dare it! I was so startled! It was cheeky enough to enter the place I call a sanctuary the little bastard. Thankfully once morning arose I was told that a mouse had been caught! Yippee! This feeling didn't last long. I know that another mouse will take it's place and I will once again be facing the dilemma of having a mouse in my house. This looks like it will be an ongoing issue. *sigh* prepare yourselves for a constant stream of updates and for my constant use of the the phrase "mouse in my house". What can I say? I'm a sucker for alliteration.

So it's now the 7th week. Shit me when did that happen? I will be home in 12 short weeks, a little browner, hair a little longer and maybe, just maybe a little more grown up. At the present moment I am being distracted by Charlotte showing Roni and I pictures of cows. She has a whole separate folder for cows.  Charlotte if you're reading this, you have a problem. Enough with the pictures of cows!

Lastly I gave the Man an unintentional ultimatum and surprise surprise I have heard nothing. If you're reading this (which I know you aren't) message received, loud and clear darling. I deserve someone who actually cares about me. This folks is another one of my epiphanies and I have to say it is a bloody good one. I have finally learnt to stand up for myself and ask for what I want and if it is not matched then it is not good enough. Today you are seeing (well not literally, come now.) a new, stronger me and to be honest, it's been a bloody long time coming and I'm so glad she's here! I'm going to embrace the changes with arms wide fucking open my lovelies, you have been warned!

Other then that I'm fine (I've actually lost some weight - woop!(Healthy weight loss may I add)) and I promise not to drink, smoke and drive!

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

...Cambodia Calling 4 - Back to reality.

So I've just realised I've been here for 6 weeks. Like I'm in my 6th week. How crazy is that? It means I only have 7 more weeks to work and then I can start my adventure! Woooooo! Like I know I'm "in" my adventure anyway but I really want to go travelling. I want to see more of South East Asia. I've got the bug and I'm not letting it go!

I also have 7 weeks and 2 and a half days of my boss left. I know that sounds mean but I really can't wait to leave. I love the kids I think they are fantastic and beautiful little people. Just take a look at the picture. She was crying for her mum and I attempted to cheer her up with a plastic horse - it didn't work...

But this same little girl is a changed one. She is so sweet and happy. No more tears! She gets on so well with everyone else. Before none of the kids wanted to come near me or play with me (I was that child) but now they do! I have earned their trust - yippee! So it will be sad saying goodbye to them but on the other hand I will be meeting so many more people and seeing so many different things.

I have already met so many fantastic people here, I am hoping I will keep in touch with as many of them as humanly possible (mostly because it means I have free holiday destinations. (I'm just joking. (I'm not really joking.))) It also means that they can come and stay with me! Not all of them at once though, that will be a pretty tight squeeze but it's crazy how fast you get to know someone when you're living together and having so many different shared experiences from your friends at home so when they leave it's really, really sad. Two of them are leaving in a matter of weeks and I'm trying to devise ways to keep them here, purely for selfish reasons.

I have decided to go to Vietnam for a few days, I just need to work out the logistics (and the money - eek) of attempting such a long journey. But I think it will be pretty cool to see Ho Chi Min and Hanoi and I have so much time before I have to go home that I might as well use it to my advantage. 

Yesterday I was mistaken for a Cambodian. The guy that was looking after our bikes (sort of like an unofficial car park. Basically you give me some money and I'll "make sure" no one steals your bike. He was a nice chap though.) started talking to me in Khmer and I turned to Phavy who told me he was asking if I was Cambodian. I said no but I felt super flattered. It looks like I'm blending in better then I thought I was! 

We also have a mouse in our house, well technically more then one seeing as Pally killed one last week and yesterday (with his bare hands may I add...) and now sitting in the trap in Ronny's room is mouse numero tress. She looks pretty shifty, I think she's new to the game. Obviously only moved in when her competition were taking care of and now she's in for the same fate. It's what you get if you mess with Westerners. Sorry mouse but don't enter my house.

So I have 5 days off work (including the weekend) because of a few public holidays. I'm looking forward to resting but I also need something to do! Any suggestions are more then welcome but please folks keep them clean! God knows whose reading this! We don't want to offend anyone now do we? Oh I've gone delirious, I blame the heat. Anyway I'll say ta-ra, I have to work in an hour and I would like a nap (nothing different really; different country, same Rachel. Same same but different).

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll. 

Sunday, 21 October 2012

...Cambodia Calling - From Siem Reap to Sihanoukville.

Howdy cyber folks. So it's been like a week since the last blog and I have spent that glorious week lying on a beach and being shunted from bus to hostel and back again. So where to begin? 

I guess the best place to start is with the mini bus drivers. They are maniacs. Wait, no, the mini bus drivers from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh are maniacs. The mini bus drivers from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville are pussy cats in comparison. Firstly the driver decided that his horn was the best offensive weapon he had against the war on other motor vehicles/people/animals and the general environmental atmosphere. Then he decided that his side of the road wasn't good enough and he clearly preferred to drive on the left. Ronny said he was trying to make me feel at home. I didn't feel at home, in fact I felt terrified. He then decided that all this wasn't fun enough and so played a twisted game of chicken with the upcoming traffic. Even when there was torrential rain he didn't stop. I think he liked the thrill of it all, I think my nerves still haven't recovered. it wasn't any different on the way home, only the driver had changed. The Cambodians have a saying: "same, same but different" I think it applies to situations like these. So after a hellish journey there I finally stumble out of the mini bus, shaken but not deterred from my journey and find the way to our hostel which is clean, tidy and has no window...Strangest thing in the world, it felt like we were sleeping in a prison cell and don't worry I have a picture of our lovely room:

 Mmmm Lovely. 

So after a night there we moved onto another mini bus and another driver, who, as I explained above was a lot calmer. We arrived at Sihanoukville a little grumpy but safe and found our guest house, which turned out to be a lovely, quiet, clean and very accommodating place to stay. If you are ever in Sihanoukville I recommend you stay at Panda Guest house, it's only like 5 mins to the beach, the owner is lovely and really helpful. Ronny and I switched rooms from a fan room to one with a/c because it was so hot in the room and I know I wouldn't be able to sleep. So we paid a little bit extra and had the lovely luxury of a/c! 

Right so the beach was beautiful, it is such a lovely place to stay and it was so relaxing, minus a few hiccups with certain people who shall not be named...But overall I had such a good time. One day Ronny and I got talking to a few of the locals and they then invited us back to the bar they worked for in the evening for a few drinks, so naturally I was up for it and I'm glad we went it was such a lovely experience to hang with some locals and chat away and he even tried to teach us a few more Khmer words which I have totally forgotten! We also met a lovely couple from England that are now living in Chang Mai who said we can come stay once we get to Thailand (I know I keep saying "we" and don't worry I haven't gone mad or anything, I am merely referring to myself and Ronny, cos we're like travelling around together - you get me?) To top the night off there were fire dancers - at least that's what I think you call them and they were so talented! Here, take a look: 

They were doing really well until one of them dropped it. Shit happens though, they picked it up and continued!

So we then (Ronny and I) went the next day to see the waterfall which was absolutely breathtaking. It was only a small one but I've never seen a waterfall before and I was really impressed. All the volunteers will be going to see a bigger one at the end of the month so I will take lots of pictures of that and post them here.

So to some up an already long blog (and if you are still reading dear friends, I have the feeling it will get a little longer...) if you ever go to Sihanoukville here are a few places you should visit:

Panda Guesthouse - for good, cheap accomadation.

Navann Restaurant - for really good, cheap food and a really lovely, welcoming family. We ate there everyday and one morning the owner gave us free hats from a business he tried to start but that failed and so had loads of hats left over which he gave us! He and his family are so lovely. One night he told Ronny and I about what happened to his family during the Khmer Rouge (without us prompting him) and it was so moving. I really didn't know what to say to him or how to react. It's such a hard thing to live through and to hear it first hand from someone who had been there was really moving. I have been wondering ever since I read "First they killed my father" how many Cambodians I come across have been directly affected by what happened and I'm guessing it's over 90% of them. Maybe higher and how do you deal with something like that? They are such a strong, encouraging nation, always smiling, always friendly and willing to help, you wouldn't notice the scars that linger underneath it all. 

Anyway I've gone off topic, you should also visit these beaches:
- Serendipity - it's not as dirty as people say it is and yeah you get hassled a lot by the locals trying to make you look pretty through manicures/pedicures/threading/massages/bracelets....the list could go on. But if you're friendly and say no thank you most of them don't bother you.

- Otres beach - it is beautiful, less crowded and the sea is gorgeous.

- Sokha beach - it's privately owned and if you don't pay 5-10 dollars you don't have anywhere to sit, so we just skimped past that one with our tuk tuk driver who was an amazing guide for the day. I told him he should do his own tours!

- Bamboo island - it is perfect. Quiet, beautiful and you can stay in one of the bungalows on the beach for the night, which, if I had the money I would totally do.

So I had a good holiday. It gave me an even bigger travelling bug though and now I can't wait to start my travelling. I also had a lot of time to reflect and I came to the decision to not linger on the past and look forward. I've made a lot of mistakes in the past but you know, making mistakes is how we're supposed to learn right? So I should stop beating myself up about what happened and focus on using those experiences to make me a better, stronger, wiser person. I think that's a good outcome from a week on the beach! I should go there more often, I may have even more epiphanies! 

But for now I will bid you goodbye. It's time for me to leave the cafe I have been sitting in for the past 3 hours and go home. Until next time.

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

...Cambodia Calling 3

As of this Monday it will be 3 weeks since I boarded the plane in London Gatwick and landed, exhausted, jet lagged and a little homesick in Cambodia. The time has flown! I didn't even realise it had been so long. Next week the first of the new volunteers arrives (Hi Jasmine) and then from there on they slowly filter into our compound and I am no longer a newbie. It's so weird but at the same time extremely exciting. It will be fun to show them around and let them know what's best for mossie bites (it's tiger balm) and to always, always haggle in the market. I just hope the next 2 and a bit months hold as much fun, excitement and new opportunities as the past few weeks have. 

Right now however I am watching a Cambodian film about, well, I have no idea what it's about but the acting is so over exaggerated it's really helping me follow the plot. It also helps that the film is quite funny too! 

Anyway I shall tell you most of what has happened to me over the past week-ish, starting with today. Mainly because I haven't laughed this much in a very long time and I just wish me or Ronny (Veronika) had bought our cameras because it was a sight to behold. Picture this, Ronny and I are making our way through the old market (the old market is packed with clothes, jewellery, souvenirs, food (the meat I wouldn't touch with a barge pole, I'll put a picture up so you know what I mean) and more clothes!) we finally come to the stinky bit, which is the fish and meat stalls and I literally have to hold my breath because even when you breathe through your mouth you can taste it. It is humid and the air is pungent. It is by far one of the worst things I have ever smelt, including Tooting Market's fish stalls on a hot day. Anyway, we finally come to the unofficial "Cambodain side" of the market, which basically consists of lots of jeans and t-shirts, pretty dresses, make up stands, hairdressers and food. So I begin rummaging through the stacks of shorts looking for a pair of long shorts I can buy cheaply, I can't find what I'm looking for so the woman who owns the stall comes over and asks me what I want, I tell her, then she says no she doesn't have any and what is my size. So I say roughly a 29-30 and she laughs, touching my waist and shaking her head she says "No! You need the big size!" I was horrified but I began to laugh and said to her "I'm not that big! I've got hips!" She then shoves me to the stall at the end, shouting at the woman in Khmer what it is I'm looking for and presumably also tells her what size she thinks I am, for when we reach the woman she's already laughing. I hold up a pair of shorts and she says "No! You need the big size!" At this point I am determined to get into a pair of 29 inch shorts that she holds before me, shaking her head and laughing she tells me I can try it on so I look around and wonder where the hell am I supposed to try anything on in the middle of a market? I'm standing on the "pathway" and to my right is the fresh fruit and veg stalls and to my left is a hysterical Ronny and the rest of the giggling ladies and their stalls. So this lady rummages around her stall and produces a skirt which she tells me to put on. I gather that I am supposed to put this skirt on over my trousers to take my trousers off and then put on the shorts. As I pull the skirt on I'm laughing so hard I feel like I might wet myself but I am determined to get the shorts on and for them to fit. The shorts didn't fit, I did get them halfway up my thighs though and the whole experience was hilarious and I now know that yes I am too fat for Cambodia! The women here are so tiny that a 29 there size is like a size 6 Western size. I did end up buying a pair of "Abercrombie and Fitch" men's shorts which are uber comfy and a steal at 6 dollars. God knows if they are real or not but I don't care. One woman tried to sell me a pair of "Burrberi" shorts, I don't know who "Burrberi" is but he might want to take his name off their products. She wanted 18 dollars for them and I refused to pay anymore then 6, she finally came down to 7 but her attitude sucked and she kept grabbing at my arm and pulling me back every time I tried to walk away which I did not like so I didn't buy them. She muttered something in Khmer behind my back but oh well, who gives a fuck? I don't! Other then that today has been a load of fun, I've laughed, gotten undressed in the middle of a market and also got soaked by the rain but it is the rainy season so I will let that one pass. 

This is from the New Market but all the meat is left out like this in all the markets!

So I went to the pool yesterday and Ronny and Lucia tried to help me re-learn how to swim. It turns out it is a lot harder to do sans goggles so I may have to buy a pair. I have however perfected my own technique of swimming on my back, it's quite relaxing and I moved so that's all that counts. The chlorine in the water is also very good for the old mossie bites. 

Work is going well my boss lives in her own world but I think that is something I will have to get used to or ignore completely. The children are lovely and fascinated by everything around them. It is a lot of hard work though, I ramble at them in English and they ramble back in Khmer and neither of us understands each other so I end up nodding and smiling and they frown at me and walk away. It's a good system most of the time. I have learnt the word for toilet in Khmer because it comes in handy! So at least I know when they need to go. The six year olds I teach in the afternoon are great. Some of them are super bright and have a very good grasp of the English language and some of them do not. It's a mixed bag of nuts I guess like any class. 

Most of this week I have been working hard and coming home exhausted and ready for bed. On Wednesday we went and did a pub quiz and if you loose you have to do a garlic shot. I was convinced we had lost seeing as most of us didn't know the answers to half of the questions but surprisingly someone did far worse then we did and we didn't loose! Yippee! Then last night it was karaoke night which was really fun and I got up and sang 3 songs. I was dead nervous doing the first one but then I thought fuck it, no-one here really knows me so I don't care what they think, I'm singing for myself and for the lovely group of girls I have cheering me on and you know what? That made it a hell of a lot more fun then taking it seriously and caring what other people thought. It is only karaoke for fucks sake! 

So next Saturday me and the girls (and a girl from work) head off on our holiday to Sihanoukville. I am very excited and the only reason we are going is because it is the Ancestor festival anyway so the kids won't turn up and I might as well enjoy the beach. I'll let you know how it goes but for now my cyber friends (and family) I will be saying adieu. The mossies are trying to eat me so I need to sit under my net. 

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll!

P.S so far it is Mossies 30, Rachel 6. I will kill them all. Just give me time.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

...Cambodia Calling 2

So I'm sick. Booooo. I don't like being sick in England and over here it's worse because it's so hot. It like amplifies the sick feeling and shoves it down your throat till all you can taste is your illness. Nice analogy right? But I've pumped myself full of paracetamol, green tea with honey and hot lemon with honey - minus the whiskey. I didn't trust what was on offer in the shops. You could get a whole bottle of "whiskey" for $4.30, like a big bottle. I don't think what was inside was whiskey. I didn't want to hang about to find out. So yeah that's what happening at the moment. Ange, my "boss" told me to go home yesterday and not come back till Monday. I was shocked. I thought, "mate I only have a cold, it's not like I'm dying" and you know I told her so (not in those exact words) but she insisted I rest myself and come back when I'm better. You'd never get that sort of thing in London. Or in the Western world. We have to work even if we feel like our face is melting and all our internal organs are seizing up. It's that fear of missing something, anything. It's a totally absurd notion though, you can't physical work if you are sick, it's not possible and you risk the chance of infecting everyone else so they can't work either and then before you know it the whole company is caught under flu's deadly grasp and everything goes tits up from there. Dramatic I know but it's true. The way of thinking out here is so relaxed and logical. If you're tired - sleep, if you're hungry - eat, if you're sick - stay in bed, don't work. Makes perfect sense so after writing this blog it is exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to rest.

Enough about me being sick. I'm sick of being sick. Instead I'm going to talk about something else. 

So Ange my "boss" has told me she wants me to teach the older kids as well as the younger kids, because I'm a native English speaker. Luckily for her she didn't have the chance to hear my accent before the elocution lessons! Hahahaha! She wouldn't want me anywhere near her kids then. I'll try my best to not slip in a bit of cockney but if it happens then it happens! I'm looking forward to teaching the older kids, they have a good grasp of English already and I know I'll just be helping it along, whereas the little ones don't have any English at all and it's learning through play so I'll be talking constantly. It is going to be exhausting! Hopefully it will be fun too. Fingers crossed.

These mossies are fucking deadly, they are using me like a buffet, I swear to God when I find the one that's in my room, using me like I'm a midnight snack I will kill it. Slowly. I'll pull of it's fucking wings and show it to it. HA! Bite me while I sleep? You must be brave.
Call me Rachel McKenzie, mossie killer extraordinaire. I think the heats gotten to me...

So there's not much more to say really. I hand washed my clothes yesterday, it took me like half an hour but I saved myself a dollar. I know it doesn't sound like much but a dollar out here goes a long fucking way. And they smell all fresh and clean, I'm very proud of myself. I did scrub the shit out of them though - not actually shit, that would be disgusting, just you know I went at them hard...

I've been thinking about contacting the Man but I'm not sure. One source has said NO. To not let anything taint this experience which is true. This experience is for me and you know I want to make it the best experience I've ever had, but I really, really, miss him. *sigh* I guess that's normal. Not much to be done about it and I should stop brooding and buck up damn it. Any other suggestions of what I should do would be handy, I know he doesn't read this so no harm in him seeing it but if you could, answers on a postcard please, you know where to find me. 

I might upload some pictures to facebook but I'm not sure yet. Don't know if I can be bothered right now and may just do it all when I get home, in one big lump session. We will see. 

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll. 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

...Cambodia Calling

Hello cyber pals, so it is officially the end of my first week here in Cambodia and so far so good. I don't really know where to begin so I think I'll start with the end and work my way back to the beginning - but knowing me I'll probably just jump back and forth a coupe of times till I get the story right.

So today we went to see the Tonle Sap Lake which was quite depressing. The people there live on the lake and the money they earn comes from the lake. That wasn't the completely depressing part, because it was fairly depressing in itself. For me it was the children posing for pictures for you then asking for money afterwards and the mothers/daughters using babies to beg for money. I know it's how they can earn a little extra cash and frankly who am I to judge what's going on after all I decided to come there and view the way their living, so why can't they make a little money out of it? It's just hard to come to terms that that is how people are living, how they have to live. I know on my trip here I will be faced with these situations everyday and I will have to learn how to (this sounds harsh) "block it out" but I think it will still take some getting used to. 

So this morning we had a Khmer language class and learnt a few phrases to use when we're out and about and learnt a bit abut the culture and the dos and don'ts, which is handy. 

Well I've also seen all the temples and in one of them I lit some incense and received a blessing from one of the Buddhist ladies and two bracelets for "long life and good luck" which was all very nice. At the end of the day our tour guide took us back to Angkor Wat and by one of the shrines to Buddha there was a book of Sanskrit and the tour guide said you had to put it on your head and then take the pointer that was attached to the book of Sanskrit and let it fall wherever your hand felt it should go. So I tried it and he deciphered it for me, it read: "You are loved, you are liked, you are cared for and respected." I really needed to hear that. I'm not being sarcastic. I've never been this far from home before and I didn't realise how hard it would be so for him to read that back to me made me feel a lot better.  He could have been bullshitting but I'd rather take the cynicism out of it and trust in what he read.

Right so that was Wednesday I think. I'm gonna jump a lot because I'm running out of time and need to brave the thunderstorm to go have dinner, yes I said thunderstorm. I've never, ever seen lightning like they have it here. It's beautiful but deadly all at the same time.

I''ll tell you about the plane journeys. They were very long and tiring. The first flight was ok, had to stop myself from crying the whole way through, so to cover I watched a few films that were tear jerkers. The next flight was shit, my telly didn't work and I was sat next to a large man who had really bad breath and I couldn't sleep. So boooo Emirates sort your shit out. The last flight was in a turboprop plane or a tin can death trap. That's what they should call it. I have never felt so terrified in a plane until that day. I had to not look down because I was sure there was no possible way we could stay in the air.

Right I'm being rushed so I'll mention a few last points:
1. The mossies have been biting the shit out of me. I hate them all.
2. White Tiger Balm stops mossie bites stinging so much.
3. Cambodians don't find dark skin attractive, so daddy if you're reading this, have no fear, I will not come back married. 
4. The alcohol is super cheap and super strong.
5. You can also dance on the tables/chairs.
6. I have a room to myself and only 2 days ago figured I could keep the fan on whilst turning the light off (long story fill you in next time)
7. You can't flush toilet paper down the toilet. It has to go in the bin, no matter if you've done a number one or two. Yep you heard me. 
8. I think I'm going to like it here. The people I'm living with are nice and apart from the heat the country is lush.

Right off to cycle in the rain on Oliver (that's my bikes name, he's super cool.) to get me some dinner. 

Big Ocean crossing love ya'll. 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

...Wonderingly Witty

Tonight I have to learn to let you go. Not just for myself but for everything I want, I believe in. Carrying you around with me is beginning to feel too heavy. I can't let the pain that etches itself throughout my heart continue to follow me around. Maybe I should be writing this when I'm sober. Maybe I shouldn't be looking too closely at the shadows. Maybe I shouldn't be analysing the past and looking instead towards the future. Do the scars heal? Once your hearts been broken can it repair itself? Or am I forever damaged? Forced to wander the world looking for that bit of me I left behind with you. Maybe I should stop drinking so much rum. Maybe I haven't drunk enough. I'll continue this in the morning. Hopefully the light will change the dark shades grey and the grey shades light.

Last night was difficult. I am now moving on and saying a big hearty FAREWELL ENGLAND. Farewell to all the shit, bollocks, cunning and down right emotional thievery that I have had to endure over these past, well, I guess it would be 8 maybe 7 years. I look forward to embracing a new destination and hopefully finding "me" and everything I lost for humanity whilst I am away. Sounds heavy doesn't it?  Well tough shit it is.

I said goodbye to the hunk of the family yesterday and today and their positive words will carry me through the most difficult days of my journey. That and the insane amount of pictures I have of all of you MUHAHAHAHAHAHA! I promise I will not use them for voodoo....

*sigh* well there are still things I have to pack, I haven't put away my clean clothes or put that extra bra in my backpack and I still haven't cut my nails yet, I just can't be bothered. I do however have to get up at 6 am to catch my plane, I'm hoping, praying that I get some sleep tonight. Last night I dreamt I was kicked out of a window and fell, landing on my bed with a thump. I woke up and stretched my arms out hoping to find something solid and luckily for me I landed on The Man and was happy to know I wasn't for the time being, completely alone. I dreamt also that the world had flooded. A friend of a friend who has started learning about psychology told me that my dreams are (obviously) pointing towards me leaving and my subconscious wanting something more out of my life. I think I knew that already and I'm glad that I didn't pay a psychiatrist to tell me so. I'm hoping my subconscious will find what it's looking for and allow me to get some bloody rest.

I said goodbye to The Man today and I wasn't the least bit emotional. I mean I was sad, don't get me wrong, but I wasn't emotional. That pull I was hoping to feel wasn't there. Maybe it's the curse of being an actor (actress), maybe the scenes in my head are so much better then real life, so when real life does play out in front of me it's not the same. The emotion isn't there and to be honest there's no fucking background music. No swirl of violins or R Kelly singing some jumped up R&B tune about his baby leaving. None of that. Just a numbness that I'm sure will develop into actually wanting once I realise this isn't a game and I am actually leaving. Like actually leaving and to be frank, he didn't seem that bothered. I think that's what triggered my reaction. I think he's going to miss my bed more then me. It is fucking lush. Oh fuck it, maybe I'm over thinking this and it isn't what I think it is and everything will be dandy, like cotton candy (I'm full of these tonight really aren't I?)

So mi amigos, mi amigas, if anyone out there is actually reading this and you know, wants to know where I'll be placing myself in South East Asia then just click follow (by email mostly - it's the easiest way!) and my weekly updates (hopefully) on Sundays (hopefully) will be your guilty weekend, post hangover, pre brunch treat. So for now I should sign off, go finish packing my bag, putting away my clothes, general freak out before bed and have a good nights rest before tomorrow, which is going to be hard in itself. I have to say goodbye to the parental's and that no doubt will make me weep. I bid you all goodnight and I'll see you on the other side.

Heres hoping.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

...Witty Wonderings

What up homies?

For the past 4 days my cat has been on a hunger strike. For the first day I didn't pay much attention, to be honest I thought she was being a little bitch! But then the second day arrived and she still hadn't eaten anything and I started to worry, she was also playing hide and seek in the garden and refused to come when anyone called her. The 3rd day went much the same but I managed to bribe her with tuna. Now it's the fourth day (this is really interesting isn't it?) and I've buckled, I've given into her demands and I drove down to Sainsbury's to purchase kitty crack - Whiskers. She loved it. She only ate half of it *sigh* so I brought out the big guns, I offered her some ham. Not the shitty wafer thin ham that's like 20% water but like the good stuff but she refused to eat it until I also had a piece first, then she devoured it. Moral of this story? I think my cat's paranoid and no one should ever, EVER underestimate their power. I think she was one day from attacking me in my sleep. I'm deadly serious.

As you can probably tell that has been the highlight of my week. It really has. It has also helped me procrastinate. I really don't want to pack, I don't want to clean my medical kit, I don't want to have to make a list of all the things I've put in said backpack, I don't want to say goodbye to anyone, I just want to leave, in the middle of the night, stealth like, with a note left on the dining room table saying "Gone to Cambodia, see you in 5 months".

I woke up this morning in a panic, I looked around my room and it's mess and I concluded that one: I should probably clean my room and two: I should probably pack because I leave in 6 days. I don't think the countdown helps me, I think it's a countdown to hysteria, I can feel it building. Bubbling under the surface of my denial. So I've decided to pack this week full of lovely things to do to take my mind of the inevitable. It mostly involves having drinks with a handful of my favourite people and filling the rest of those nights with art and crafty things oh and being cooked dinner. Which I'm very much looking forward to. I love not cooking. The man friend said he'll come round and cook me dinner and well to be honest I'm a little curious. I don't know what it'll be, seeing as you know we've never actually gone to dinner, because it's not that kind of relationship...if that makes sense. It's all very confusing isn't it? And this blog is just another way for me to put off actually doing anything.

I have been having really fucked up dreams lately. Yesterday's dream involved me trying to escape from a cult and then I managed to escape but then somehow I ended up there again and then they made me perform in a big show and I couldn't quite remember the dance moves and their was a guy who lived on top of a giant flea and oozed a bug like oil. Like I said, fucked up. The man friend says it's all the books I've been reading that are a bit on the weird side and you know, words have a deeper effect then we realise (his words not mine) but I dunno. The last book I read was "Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruis Zafon and if you haven't read it then I think you should and no it won't give you nightmares and yes it is a superbly written piece of literature. There was a description of a demon/dream like creature that I thought would give me nightmares but it didn't. I think I just have an overactive imagination. Or I feel like I'm living in a cult? Answers on a postcard please.

So what else is there to say? I leave in six days. Six whole days. Let's hope they go as slowly as possible.

Heres hoping.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

...Chitteringly Canny

Guten Tag meinen freunden, wie gehts? (as you can see I'm trying to practise my German). Anyhow, I went to see the Paralympics on Tuesday and courtesy of my amazing little sister, was sitting practically within spitting distance of the race track (not that I was going to spit that would just be disgusting and frankly uncouth.) It was brilliant, I was blown away by everything but it was the athletes in the wheelchairs (if they can be called that - the wheelchairs not the athletes - obviously!) were fantastic! They moved so fast and as I said to my dad must be super strong (obviously) to go that fast. I know that I couldn't do anything like that, especially when it comes to moving my own body weight (ha!) and I'm not fat. Just thought I'd clarify just in case some of you out there thought I was some sort of large person dominating my keyboard...

The ohmygoshIcan'tbelieveI'mleaving Countdown stands at 11 days. Eleven very short days to do all the things I'm still putting off. The biggest one being the Gas and Electricity company. They are still not convinced I'm leaving the country and well I've run out of ways to make them believe me - any ideas would be super helpful. I have also been stress smoking (don't judge me) and stress eating and *cough* drinking. But it's all relative right? That's what I keep telling myself and I've only 11 more days to indulge myself and of course it's totally not a problem, wine is definitely one of your 5 of days, it's got a shed load of grapes in it...

Well, moving on swiftly from that outburst I am currently sitting in my chair (I'm gonna miss my chair, it's super comfy once the correct position has been attained) and I'm listening to a band called "Young the Giant" they're alright. Spotify recommended them because I was listening to "Of Monsters and Men" now they are a band worth listening to. Seriously, if you want some musical enjoyment I highly recommend giving them a  listen and then just sit back and let yourself fall into the beauty that is their musical genius. It's practically orgasmic...oh wow I really want some galaxy chocolate - strange how that connection is made no?

You can probably tell that this here blog is me just spewing some mental mind stuff over the intersphere but it's totally needed (apparently totally is my word of the day...) I've been feeling pretty shitty these past few days and I can't shake the funk that has settled over me. Not even with a healthy dose of community spirit not even (shockingly enough) with a healthy glass of wine and a bag full of popcorn. No this funk has decided to settle itself glumly around my old heart bones and is given them a good old tug. It's annoying and has rendered me useless and spiteful. Which is never a good combination. Add slightly drunk to that combination and the world spirals out of control. Finding a reason for the funk is always a good place to begin and to be honest cyber folks I can't find one. So hence the spewing. I figured if I just kept typing then maybe the reason will present itself, but so far no luck and I don't know how much longer I can keep you all captive. I may just have to whack on some Prodigy, dance around a bit and stop listening to this sappy Indie music that's making me feel all reminiscent and moody. Is this the answer to my funk? Fuck no but it's the beginning of finding out once again why it's here. I'm gonna sip my juice and stare at the wall, maybe the answer will display itself.

Heres hoping,