Pleasure floating in Indochina

Written 28 December
If you have ever struggled to find a place that feels just like fresh, clean, cotton sheets on a soft (but firm, mattress), Siem Reap just might be the ticket.

We arrived late night, so admittedly it took me a couple of hours post waking this morning to really appreciate the multifactorial pleasure of my surroundings.

So, here’s some evidence to support my claim, Your Honour:

  • First and foremost the people are the friendliest, politest and smiliest you’re ever like to meet.
  • Hiring your own personal Tuk Tuk costs $15 USD per day and you can head anywhere, embracing the urge to smile, whilst feeling increasingly more and more pleased that you made clearly the right direction to come visit Cambodia.
  • Adding to the bonus of having your own personal vehicle and driver, you’ll also be thrilled to discover that your chauffeur couldn’t be more relaxed (though highly professional), speaks superb English (as all others do involved in tourist and transportation we’ve come across), is slightly hot and comes sensibly prepared with a hammock for his down times between ferrying you from one glorious temple visit to the next.
  • Our lodgings, Viroth Hotel, is an excellent med-price range, independent…which if you’re above average in your passion for palms and ferns, provides ample fodder for flora photography and ‘we should do this in our garden’ planning.
  • You’ll achieve intense mouth pleasure from consuming Banana Leaf Salad
  • You can dine out on obscenely great ‘Siem Reap BBQ’
  • And the one hour (for $5 USD) Reflexology Lady will perform a pretty comprehensive MOT on your complete anatomy without shifting from below your knees with a beautiful smile and savage (though pleasing) hand.

Kick Off, Bangkok

Written 16 December
It all started with a chilli squid salad, a half hour of brain sapping ‘Thai Fight’ mixed martial arts television viewing (between ordering and whilst pleasuring my taste buds); and  630ml of SINGHA to occupy our two hour wait at Main Station, Bangkok – awaiting embarkation onto Train 69, bound for the Thai/Laos Border.

However, this is not the commencement of my story dear readers, for we’d just taken in an evening and a day in a city that serves up fabulous food both street side and restaurant way as well as providing my 12 year old with immense food for thought (and questions), specifically as we walked around hostess street heaven, very late last night.

This town’s great…Bangkok…that’s if I’ve already lost you.  For not only does anything go… here are some other reasons:

  • the five star hotels are accessible to the not entirely rich
  • the service and friendliness of its people, incredibly appreciated
  • the Skytrain’s clean, efficient, air-conditioned, inexpensive and a wonderful way to sightsee in comfort
  • if you decided to fall asleep in the street, it’s OK. Lots of people do it so you shan’t look weird, rather at ease in your environment
  • And the backing music that played whilst I consumed this evening’s hearty feast was exquisite soft eighties rock at its Asian covered/pirated best.

Just dress in linen, embrace the 30 plus temperature and marvel at the difference a simple, give-or-take 16 hours (including check in + immigration) can provide the excitable traveller (that’s if you are flying from Heathrow, please adjust flight times from other departure cities of course).

And one more thing before I reflect on current travelling compartment situation and this is really important…the massages are indisputable champions of cheap, long and wonderfully satisfying – so make sure you keep £4.00 (in equivalent THB) in your side pocket for these little treats.

To Train 69, Carriage 13, Compartment 21/22. Recommended by the Chap in Seat 61 and a super way to combine overland travel with a sight-examining component, as well as not having to pay for an additional evening’s accommodation (crafty hey).

The train leaves nightly at 8.00pm and apparently takes approx. 11 hours – and better still, though we don’t have Wifi, my boys have just returned from the Bistro car where they’d happily sipped on their beverages of choice whilst soaking in the atmosphere of open train windows (and doors) which circulate the smells of Thailand; taken in the sound of Thai Disco Legends; and absorbed the company of a mixed bag of travellers, whom sounded perfect for material and essential for memories.

I’ve just realised you might be concerned about the open window bit…please don’t be alarmed…for if you take up evening lodgings in Carriage 13 you’ll be bathing in the refreshing beauty of air-con.

Additionally, a train steward (I assume that’s what they are called), will create your sleeping world with precision – for the triangle corners he produces in his 60 second make-over of your room – not only looked good to me, but really impressed one of my co-travellers who has incredibly high standards when it comes to folding, polishing and definitely ironing.

Now to bed and tomorrow – Vientiane, Laos

The Merry Wives of Windsor – The RSC

So, I’d been preparing for this particular production for a considerable time – being specific since 5 March when I purchased the tickets – so by last Wednesday my internal excitement levels had surfaced, and my poor, unsuspecting work colleagues were placed in the hideous position of dealing with an all singing (badly), all skipping (somewhat better), all at times too genuinely excited Allied Health Professional. Bring on Saturday…and happily it came.

Thus, post a delicious two courser at the Rooftop Restaurant, accompanied by a glass and a half of Chablis, we took our seats and prepared for the action. And oh such fabulous action it was.  And humour, oh such fabulous humour it was. And the best (I really mean this), the very best staging I’ve ever had the delight of spying. Dear Scenic Art Department and Scenic Engineering Department you created and crafted a ‘First’ in spectacular scene setting.

So to the story, I giggled (politely) though by the time it came to Falstaff meeting Mistress Page in her seductive warehouse conversion, I was chortling and chuckling like a madwoman.  The smooth moves, the flirtatious agility, the suspicious Frank Ford were too much for me to bear, hence I remained pretty much for the rest of the show, shrieking loudly and being genuinely absorbed by the talented acting and entertaining text.

Furthermore, as you can only imagine… Shakespeare…Comedy…must include mistaken identity and you are not wrong.  Additionally, deception (raucous laughter deception) is available in abundance within this production.

You experience no anti-pleasure. The show’s a stomper in the stakes of all round great entertainment.

Finally and the thing that probably astounds me most – it’s incredible to think that his kind of comedy just doesn’t age.  For here I am approximately 500 years after this was first staged, getting the jokes and reacting in perhaps the same way as another theatre goer did 100 years, 350 years, 500 years ago did. Moreover, plays are still being written and produced along these lines today – such as the fabulous, One Man, Two Guvnors – so it’s great and encouraging news dear theatre lovers. There’s a wealth of divine satisfaction do be had.

Go get some!