Right….. this next bit I was gonna keep personal, but I dont see how it matters much now, and it’ll help you to understand where I was at that point, and also it’s good that I remember. Ok…. avert your eyes if you’re queasy…. this could get soppy!!! 🙂
Just before I left, and in true Miller style, I fell for a girl. Yep… rainbows, sunshine rays, the works…. fantastic timing hey!!! But anyway, just as I’d reached the point where hope for the future had turned to the realisation that – “You know what…. this really aint gonna happen”…. this happened……..
I was on the bus from Phonom Phen to Kratchie. My emotions were fucked, I’d been ill, I hadnt slept properly for a couple of nights, I was unshaven and my face reflected how I was feeling inside…. down and disheartened. Usually when I go about I’m open and initiating contact, but on this day I was closed and avoiding other people……. yet whenever I happened to catch someone’s eye, they smiled at me even though I wasn’t initiating anything. Does everyone experience that genuine smile from a complete stranger? I hope so!
Anyway, I was sitting on the bus, feeling down and minding my own business, when this lady with a child came up to me. She looked into my eyes, smiled and offered me some corn on the cob. I’d just eaten some of my own so politely refused. She smiled and nodded and sat back down. Then a couple of minutes later she came up to me again and this time offered me a hard boiled egg. I smiled and accepted and was very thankful. She smiled and went back to her seat.
These are poor people who struggle to survive on what little they have…… and she did that……. but why?……. and why to me? I tell you what….. I’ve been told before that I shine light into the lives of the people I meet…….. but people shine so much light into my life too! It was one of the kindest acts I’ve ever experienced because I was in such a low place. The egg was lovely by the way and I bought them a drink later on the journey. Lovely lovely 🙂
So from Krachtie to Stung Treng, and from Stung Treng to the border by the fasted boat in the east!!!! They’re long, thin, flat boats powered by…… car engines!!!…. fantastic and fucking loud!!! People had been saying you shouldn’t use them cos apparently there’s fatalities every week, and if you do… wear a crash helmet!!!….. yawn bloody yawn I was like!!!! Anyway though, as we’re speeding along the river at between 40-50 miles an hour I tried putting my hand in the water……. except it didn’t feel like water at all… it felt like bloody concrete!!!!!! Where was that bloody crash helmet?!!!! 🙂
So we gets to what has been billed the most corrupt border in the region. Apparently they always demand a bribe. So, not wanting to get involved in corrupt money exchanges, I went armed with a can of beer and a lollypop!!!! 🙂
Anyway, this Canadian guy and his Korean girlfriend (who I was on the speed boat with) went through first and apparently gave about a dollar bribe. So it was my turn to go into the office. The official wanted 3 dollars, but I just played the sweet little Englishman who’d already paid his visa act. The geezer was blatantly a good man who knew he was taking liberties and so he just stamped my passport without me giving him a bribe. Nice one! 🙂
But as I walked out the office, I thought…”You know what… I’m gonna give you that beer anyway”. So I did…. and all the border guards gave a little cheer!!! It was pukka!!!
So, on we went to try our luck at the Laos side armed with a lollypop and some sweets! And in hindsight, I’m glad I gave that beer to the decent bloke the Cambodian guy was, cos as events transpired, my first three hours in Laos were…… to be frank ….on the edge!!!
Love and Light,