I sit here, honestly I don’t know what day of the week it is! I only know it is the 26th today as I have just booked three days in the resort hotel below. Some concerns but not a care in the world, the only guests. So peaceful, tranquility personified, the most wonderful view across a lake, lilies jostle for space in the evaporating water to the hills in the steamy distance. Swallows skim millimeters from the surface snatching gnats and mostysitos destined for my bedroom. The local dog rustles in the border deeper and deeper in to the shade, annoyed only by jumping critters small and irritating. I’m listening to some track I should now the name of but as usual I can’t recall. Its typical chilled hotel/spa music. Restful almost mournful … but thats the mood I’m in …. I truly am melancholy, tears well in my eyes and home sickness is upon me again, weather its the fact that it is the beginning of spring at home which I look forward to every year. Knowing that the cold is on the way out…. or more likely the realization that I haven’t seen my boys for over six months, family and fiends too! I see snippets of information from Facebook, have the odd chat with James on the phone or Skype he fills me in with Cams movements but I always man up and talk about work, shying away from my true feelings knowing that I couldn’t hold it together and turn in to a sniveling wreak. I want to react to all information but don’t seem too! Emma’s post about little Elliot filled my heart but I didn’t want to react with a comment, I wanted to see them, give them a squeeze, you can’t do that on the internet. Wish my sister Linda a great holiday. Tim, Monica and Ethan on theirs too but with a visit not a post. This is the sacafice I endure to fulfill our dream of a gap year away from the norm. Away from everything and everyone I love and at this moment I don’t think I am going to manage it.
Time to pull myself together….. Throw that bloody CD in the lake!!!!! “Take me home country roads” & “Yesterday” on violin. I knew I could remember the tracks & know wonder I feel a bit down.
On my last post I left you with my thoughts of the Cambodians plight and their cheery nature. The organized tour ended in Saigon, Vietnam. Sally and I are left again to our own planning. It was good to be with a group and a good group of new friends at that, but selfishly I like doing things our way and at our pace. Which I might add is getting ever slower. Although having some-else take care of the travel arrangements has been good. The war museum in Saigon stirred the emotions again but not with the same shock that Cambodia did. I think it was because I knew a little of what happened. It still doesn’t excuse the barbarity that took place. Seeing it from the Vietnamese angle was good, a sort of reverse propaganda psychology. The Vietnamese seem a little harsher than your average Asian. Fast economic growth from the west has stirred the communist working “man”(Woman) keep it pc!) on the streets too quickly gather the all the novelties of modern life around them. Even in the hills we see wooden houses, some still with grass/ reed roofs. But most with a satellite or two pointing at the local soaps. I shouldn’t generalise. Some I am sure still live in a way that their forbears used too. Before war and politics. In the hills around the border of Laos our guide that we took from Na Trang to Hoi An along the Ho Chi Minh trail took great relish in telling us about an area of Laos that is now Vietnam. How much better of the people are now. If I am honest when you looked at the people, they had a disinterested way about them, not caring who was supposedly leading them. They life is about producing enough food for their family and that is about where it stops! Doing the Ho Chi Minh Trail was fun. Normally done on a motorbike (Called the easy rider tour). They took one look at Sally’s wash bag and jewelry and told us we need a big seven seater car! It lasted four days, staying in very basic accommodation. Day three arrived and Sally and I were both aware of the hard sell our guide had been giving us about extending the trip with him as guide. No way! He got all too pally-pally, Sally his new sister and me his brother. We couldn’t wait to be rid of him so as soon as we got to Hoi An we got out at the nearest 5* hotel knowing he wouldn’t follow. A tip for future traveling on tours, “Do Not let your guide think they is more mileage in your wallet” Having said all that we did see an awful lot of Vietnam from the cities to the wildest countryside.
A great week enjoying the sun in a great little city, fun in the local bars, fun around the market streets, fun on the day boats. Just fun relaxing. After long deliberations we decided against going on to Hanoi, namely Ha Long bay for the cruise on a Chinese Junk, we felt after hearing stories, it would be very commercialised.
P. S. About Vietnam. They need to teach themselves about litter. I have never seen so much!
Another 30 day visa. Lets use it! First in the footsteps of my son, a flight to Chiang Mai and on to the Golden Triangle. Where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. Natural boundaries to countries hued by the mighty Mekong river and the mountainous ranges. Still man has his two pennyworth along the Thai/ Burma boarder, razor-wire strewn among the impenetrable bamboo. On a lighter note I got to go to Burma even if it was the briefest of visits. Sally and I had a car, and while traveling along the mountain ridge came upon two border guards on Thai and one Burmese at a check point- we had a chat as you do. Nice guys. Explaining to them that I would love to go to Manyamar but have no visa. A really friendly gesture from them both…… GO… we won’t look or shoot you…so I did! ….for all of about minute. Sally as official photographer.
On our way to the Golden Triangle we stopped off for 5 days at Chiang Dao about half way between Chiang Mai & C-Rai, A little hut in the shadow of the high peaks mount Dao and the National park. A fabulous place to see wildlife, birds and flora…so peaceful! Its the first place that I have seen that If I was inclined (but I am not) to build a retreat abroad to escape to, I even know which plot I want!! Sally and I meet some more new friends in the Blair’s. Thanks to a mutual passion for birding Cameron and Mark (son and father) invited me to see a lot more of Chiang Dao than I ever expected. On to Chiang Rai and another lucky find with our accommodation. Just South of the town stayed in a little purpose built chalet, one of about 10 all empty except us. A couple and their mother ran it, a retirement project. They were so nice and friendly. Lent me his car to go to the local restaurant when I had returned my hire car, dropped us to the airport when we left, hung out and got in our washing while we were site-seeing, drew maps for so we wouldn’t get lost and pretty much told us everything we should and shouldn’t do. All this for 500 bht a night (10 quid). The best thing around Chiang Rai is the White Temple, an un finished temple. It will not be complete until about 2070 when the artist monk who’s creation it is will be 90 odd.
I will let some pictures conjure the next few words.
Pictures speak a thousand words and I have about 1000 pictures of Thailand, So who wants to come round our house (when we have one) for a very long conversation!!!………….. Thailand to be continued.