Sunday 28 November 2010

Moving on

I left Laos last Thursday, in perfect Laotian style, on a propellor plane that took off half an hour early when it became apparent that all passengers were present and correct. I could easily have stayed a lot longer; no doubt now that it is my favourite country in this part of, if not all, the world.

When I look back on the last month, I might find it hard to fish out memories of the two weeks I spent in Vietnam. Instead I will think of the country I first glimpsed from the bank of the Mekong in Chiang Khong, Thailand, wondering if it could really be so different. It began then, with a moonrise, and ended with a sunset. In between just seemed like one long, glorious day.

Since then, I have been in Siem Reap, Cambodia. There's only one reason it's on the map; Angkor Wat. Over two million punters pour through this little town every year, and it struggles to retain its spirit in the face of the onslaught. Time is short now, and sadly I will only see here and Phnom Penh in Cambodia, which is a bit like not really seeing Cambodia at all.

I've been feeling a little disjointed these past few days. It could be Laos withdrawal, it could be the intense tourist overload, the heat, temple fatigue. Or it could be that another part of the trip is drawing to a close, another continent looming. Or more than that, it could be the fact that in the distance, so small I can hardly see it, but big enough for me to know it's there, I think I can make out a tiny speck of tunnel at the end of the light.

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