|Siem Reap Temple Villa, not bad for $8 a night.|
I was woken about four hours after I’d gone to bed by Maddie, who was leaving to stay at her friends’ yoga retreat nearby. I said goodbye and got myself ready, then took the ten minute march towards the old market in the town centre. There were goods galore on offer from the persistent but friendly market traders. “Hello sir, you want something?”, “Have a look, sir”, “You want buy dress, sir”, “A silk scarf for you, sir”. It was non-stop, but they weren’t as pushy as their Indian counterparts that I’d experienced a year earlier. I bought myself a white cotton tunic shirt, and a similar silk one in black, both of which I’d haggled down from $15 to $5 each, a hammock for the bargain price of $2 and a few gifts, generally paying a third of whatever price I was originally quoted. I returned to my hotel, stripping off as I entered and jumping straight into the pool to cool down. After a few laps I sat down, rolled a Boom Boom Bat and went to start writing. Pretty much immediately the sun disappeared, I heard thunder breaking in the distance, and the skies opened up, lashing down on everybody around the pool. I calmly closed my laptop, put it in its case, said “If you can’t beat them, join them” to the Dutch guy beside me, stepping out from under my parasol and diving straight into the pool. It felt incredible. I raised my hands to the sky and goaded the Gods, who responded by increasing the force of the rain upon the water. It felt like the pool was now warm, contrasting the cold blasts of rain that beat down against my body like a power shower. It was clear to see that I was having a great time, and one by one the other people all jumped in too, until there was no one left on the outside. The energy between everybody was electric; we were all giving a middle finger to sky and splashing around ecstatically. I remarked “It’s hard to feel anything other than free when you’re swimming in the rain” to the Dutch guy who had followed me in in his canvas shorts and sandals, and he agreed. This wasn’t your average Monday to Friday monotony; I was guzzling from the lake of freedom, chugging at it like an American frat boy on spring break, and wasn’t going to stop until I passed out.
The rain stopped after twenty minutes and I went up to my room to write for a few hours. When I’d finished I knocked next door for Kat and Rachael, and we went downstairs for dinner, also scoring some weed off of the waiter after we inquired about the inclusion of ‘Happiness’ as a topping on the pizza menu. We got a lot less for our money than I’d had in Laos, and it was nowhere near as nice, but a top up was necessary and it filled a void in my decreasing stash. I gave the sisters a master class on how to roll an L-skin, then we sat around the pool smoking it and chatting about our lives back home. I wished them goodnight and went back up to my room to continue writing. I was loving the frequent spells of solitude after nearly two weeks travelling with others, finally having the freedom to walk around naked singing to myself, and the luxury of having two beds, one to write on and the other to sleep. By the time I’d finished a couple of days’ worth of my diary I looked at the clock and noticed it was gone 4am. Time flies when you’re recalling times of time spent so that you don’t forget spending those times when you’ve spent other time spending time. Time for bed.