Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Freewheelin’ in S.E.A - Day 16: Once upon a time, nothing happened. The End

I arose at 11am and threw everything into my bag, heading downstairs to check out before diving into the pool. Maddie turned up to hang out with us and wish me farewell, and we laid getting roasted for a few hours until my ride arrived. I hugged my three sisters goodbye, hoping we’d meet again. I sat in the van excited by the prospect of not knowing what was to come, except me, when my lady finally arrived in a few days’ time.

I was dropped at the office of the travel company that I’d booked my ride with, and waited until 2pm so we could depart. We all loaded in to a fourteen seat mini-van which would be taking us on a five hour journey to Phnom Penh. There was a bigoted, old guy from New Zealand who spoke to me for a few minutes, but he kept referring to me as a ‘Pom’ and coming out with crap about England, so I ended up introducing him to another, younger Kiwi guy, then ignoring their banal conversations . I see race and nationality as irrelevant to who I am, and who others are. I am defined by my city, London, and the assortment of everymen who inhabit it with me. We’re not English, we’re Everything. I spent pretty much the whole of the first three hours writing, and was finally catching up with the ten day deficit I’d given myself, which pleased me no end. We had a short stop in Kampong Thom which allowed me some time to have a dance with sweet Mary Jane, before exhaling my way back onto the van for another few hours. I wrote until I could no longer see, as there were no lights in the van, and very few along the windy, rubble roads to illuminate the night for me to write. I shivered the rest of the way, as boredom made the air conditioning less bearable to my near bare body, in only my old Arsenal Shorts and a vest.

By 8pm, we arrived, and I stepped onto the street to appreciate the evening heat. A couple of Tonys approached me, and I told them I wanted another place with a pool, so they took me to The Eighty8 Backpackers, a cool looking hostel with a bar/restaurant and young staff. I booked Tony, whose name was Pauli, to take me out at 10am the next day and went to check in. “How you do brother?” said one of the two guys behind the counter, asking my name and introducing himself as Lay Lay. The other, who checked me in had a name tag which read ‘John Mclane’, and I told him that I loved that the name he’d chosen for himself was Bruce Willis’s character from Die Hard. ‘Yippie Kai Yay, motherfucker’. I dumped my stuff in a locker in my empty, eight bed dorm, then did a few laps in the pool before going up to shower and change. I took a walk around the surrounding area of the hostel but there was nothing there, not even a place for dinner, so I returned to eat and write by the poolside whilst hip-hop classics were blasted out in the background. After dinner, I returned to my room which was still unoccupied, wrote some more, then fell into the world of my words, wrote myself a dream, and drifted off downstream.

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