Seeing Daisy was like a dream. I mean that both metaphorically and literally – like it was dreamy because Daisy is a dreamy girl but it was also strange seeing someone so familiar and dear in such a strange environment. Daisy has a life completely separate to mine – until a week ago her friends, workplace, home and diet were completely unfamiliar to me. Discovering those things was thrilling and strangely alienating – as much as I love and know Daisy, seeing her in a new life was like meeting her again. I imagine it’s similar to the first real date of an online relationship – you know so much about a person and they’re life but you don’t know exactly what it’s like – the uncertainty is exciting and lonely.
It was probably stranger for Daisy. Having her two lives collide like that.
We said goodbye yesterday. Alice and I had to head to Phnom Penh for Alice’s flight on Wednesday. Battambang to Phnom Penh is about 330km. Some travel websites informed me the best way to get there is bus, Capitol Tours – with air con and a luggage department – being the pick of the bunch.
I came onto the bus feeling sick – weak limbed and a stomach resembling that George Clooney film with all the big waves. It should be alright though, 330km? Should only take 4 hours?
I think it’s safe to say I’ve had the worst bus trip of my life. That 330km took seven hours. The air conditioning had the lung capacity of a emphysemic frog and we were sitting sun-side on a 35 degree day. The bus itself was ok but the Cambodian roads made it feel like sitting in a washing machine with a thousand loose parts -loudly clangly and occasionally, after a big pot hole, my limbs would just bang into things. I couldn’t read or look at my phone because that just fuelled my bellies rising tide, so I spent the seven hours atheistly praying that my bowels and belly could hold out until we arrived. I felt genuinely tortured. The only slight reliefs I had were; resting my head in Alice’s lap, some Chinese guy’s soft ring tone and, most importantly, sleep.
To my great sadness and discomfort, I didn’t make it. With one hour to go my stomach and bowls lost their shackles and the storm rose – first diarrhoea, then vomit. The toilet had no tap or toilet paper – I made do with a torn plastic glove and a chewing gum wrapper I found in the room.
South East Asia doesn’t understand the concept of walking. No one walks here. Cambodia is the most unwalky of the bunch. Here the sidewalks are so flooded with commercial paraphernalia and piles of dirt you have to walk on the highway to get anywhere.
A daily interaction.
“Hey you, tuk tuk?”
“No thanks, I want to walk.” Incredulous looks from the drivers.
“You can’t walk.”
“Gotta stay healthy.” They rarely understand.
Alice leaves tomorrow. Where going to spend our last day in Cambodia eating street food and sipping coconuts in our air conditioned paradise. If we see any temples it will be by accident.
I will be sad.