looking forward to the charms of Cambodia with an open mind
Published on: Sunday, October 06, 2019
By: Sylvia Howe
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I’m off to Cambodia via Thailand.  Excited! Looking forward to Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh and of course the temples and markets of Bangkok. This made me think about anticipation and disappointment, and occasional unexpected delights.  How can one avoid the former?  

By not expecting too much, I suppose, but then one of the wonders of the world makes it OK to do so, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, once something is on people’s bucket lists, it is hard to avoid the problems of crowds – of which I will be one, so I can’t talk, I suppose.  It’s just that we all think we are a better kind of tourist, don’t we? I certainly do!

Everyone says Angkor is wonderful, then follows this up with dire warnings about the numbers of people and the touts and the hassles and the heat, so I don’t really know what to expect. Watch this space – I will tell you about it when I get back and share any tips I may have been able to acquire from the nice man we have hired to take us around for two days in his tuk tuk (with lots of water and towels, he tells, and a lot of patience. 

Apparently some guides scuttle you round, but this chap says we can stay as long as we like in the temples). He costs $38 for two days for two of us. If he is any good, I will share his contact.

My plan for Bangkok is linked mostly to shopping and to the river which is supposed to be the way to see temples and get a sense of the place without being suffocated by traffic and people. 

And Phnom Penh? Well, I’ll see if I’m up for the Killing Fields. Sounds a lot like Auchwitz, which I want instinctively to avoid but which I think we should all probably see. Again, watch this space!

Oh my, this rain!  My plants on my balcony are living it, and the mist is curling round the trees tops on the hill behind us; if it wasn’t so flipping hot and humid, it might be England.  But then if a sunny day wasn’t quite to hot and humid, it might be England too. 

Apparently it is the end of the rainy season in Cambodia so let’s hope there isn’t TOO much water around. 

Yesterday I found a Bundles shop – second hand clothes. Oh Joy!  It is such fun rootling through piles of clothing, some of which is horrid, some very good, and all of which costs peanuts. It also lessens our weight on this planet, which is only good. I try to use charity shops for all sorts of things in the UK, for this reason and also because you can find such wonderful, and often unique and stylish bargains.  

Rare is the garment that you cannot dry clean and mend and alter to fit you if it is somewhere near your style.  Yesterday there was a great tweedy man’s jacket, a black and white tweedy dress with a lovely bias cut skirt, and a really wonderful Japanese Haute Couture black woollen cloak, right down to the ground, with a beautiful deep pink lining and a deep hood. I longed to buy it, but that would have been real extravagance as when on earth would I wear it? Not back to the UK till Christmas, and the last time I was there, a couple of suitcases of clothes went to Oxfam to make space in the cupboards. I am at last beginning to see the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’. Boring, but probably true!

We are planning all manner of excitements for next year’s WordPower, if we raise enough money. One day is going to be for business, where we will run training sessions based on the creative arts and show how they are valuable in commercial life. 

If we raise enough support, we will bring in a couple of internationally well-known people as part of a day’s training for business, and put together a collection of innovative and practical sessions. 

Otherwise there will be activities for young people and students and also for adults. Check out our website (www.wordpowersabah.com) which will have all the information once we get going.  There will also be various activities such as PechaKucha, Tribeless and networking which we will advertise throughout the year.

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