mauriah and i have only just returned from wanderings in malaysia, thailand, and cambodia. the following few posts will focus on parts of the trip; most of our pictures are here and here, and i'll be adding more soon (depending on when you get to this post). for now, here are some incomplete thoughts and notes that might otherwise not get mentioned in later posts.

- i will forever travel by train as often as it is a reasonable option for meeting my time and distance needs. standing, sitting, and sleeping while bumping through too-bright dusty afternoons was the best possible way to appreciate the landscape and people of these countries. if we had simply flown from singapore to kuala lumpur or phuket, for instance, we would never have known that - given the region - turbans, burqas, and cowboy hats are all perfectly acceptable forms of headwear in malaysia. nor would we have had any idea that due to recent political unrest in thailand, all trains are patrolled by uniformed guards carrying fully automatic weapons. nor would we have had the chance to wave to so many smiling kids, or be reminded of so many one-player childhood games, like racing the train on your bike.

- thailand is all it's cracked up to be. the sands are soft, the food is spicy, the pace of life (not including bangkok) is languid and smiling, and the islands rise in photoshopped greens and grays out of cellophane blue water. each island seems radiate its own mood. we stayed on pleasantly deserted koh lanta and touristy but singularly picaresque koh phi phi. chiang mai, in the north of thailand, is surely among the greatest cities in the world for wanderers. the local people are friendly and knowledgeable, and every turn of a corner offers temples, bookshops, shrines, and cafes, and the city limits never feel more than a 15 minute walk. many thanks to gabor for playing host and tourguide.

- despite all the words i could lay waste to lauding cambodia, there is no doing it justice. cambodia is a place that i would love to live - the style of living is simple, the mood is amiable, the food is fresh and delicious, and it is bike-friendly. the prevalence of reds, browns, oranges, umbers, saffrons and the like in the local color spectrum are all the more prevalent for their placement. palaces and temples gleam red, yellow, and gold; monks are draped in bright orange; the dust of unpaved roads varies between brick red and sienna; so many citrus fruits and curries of all hues. two of my favorite moments in cambodia were being invited to play in a local soccer match and seeing freshly slain hogs ferried on the back of motorbikes. how am i supposed to convey to you the baffled, happy moment in which, pedaling away from angkor wat in the late afternoon, we were overtaken by a handful of motorbikes each with between one and three full grown hogs on the back?

ask me about all this stuff the next time i see you, it'll sound better over a beer.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Cambodia got way into my soul, too. And I'm glad you loved Chiang Mai!