Wednesday, January 28, 2015

TRAVEL TALES #1

The spacious room on the top floor was dimly lit by mild rays of sun peeking through the windows overlooking the french balcony. Away from the doubtlessly scorching midday sun and with wafts of the cool air conditioning drifting down on where I lay in the top bunk, I thankfully burrowed further among the comfy fluffy sheets in the huge cozy bed. The time on my phone showed that it was 1.35pm in Phnom Penh. 

Faint sounds floated up from the streets. Local hawkers peddling their offerings of spring rolls or local Cambodian coffee sweetened with condensed milk and poured over crushed ice for 50 cents a pop from their push carts. Tuk-tuk drivers accosting tourists " You go killing fields? You go Royal Palace? I take you, I give good price! "

For now, I was the lone occupant of the huge dormitory with a 20-person capacity. My only pleasant ponder was how much longer I would be lying in. I had already visited the killing fields, S-21 prison, national museum, a couple of temples, local markets, walked along the Tonle Sap, and eaten my fill of Cambodian street food so I was in no hurry to go anywhere or do anything.

As I lay mulling over what I should do with my day, the sound of someone entering the room drew my attention. 

A boy around my age traipsed in, looking worn and heavily hauling his backpack as though the weight of the world was on him. He came to a stop at the bed below mine. I peeked over the edge and he glimpsed me gazing down at him. He introduced himself as Ryan and was Canadian.

" You been here long? " He queried with a tired smile.
" I've been here three days. I leave tomorrow. " I answered.
" Is this hostel peaceful? I just arrived from Sihanoukville and things were pretty crazy there. " He informed.

From what I'd heard of the beach town of Sihanoukville, it was less chaotic than Siem Reap or Phnom Penh.

" How is Sihanoukville crazy? Most people go there to chill, don't they? "
" Yeah, but I was working at a bar in exchange for free accommodation and alcohol. It was fun for a few days but after one month of there I needed to get away and have a break. Staying up late every day drinking and partying is rough. "

***
As I was getting ready to go out later that afternoon, he was slumbering quietly in bed.

I'm pretty sure I will work abroad one day. Probably not in a bar and neither for the pursuits of booze or parties, but for the culture and experience. 

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