A Room With a View

Day Two’s Exercise

Prompt: If you could zoom through space at the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

Twist: Organise your post around the description of a setting.

Okay, so for today’s blog I’m mention Bangkok and talk a little about Siem Reap, I will also use a poem that I wrote, about the journey I made to Cambodia on a bus. Although I can recall my time in Cambodia vividly and in detail, it is the journey and the shock of disembarking at the end of the journey and then the wonder and awe that arose in me as I saw the archway to the entrance into Cambodia that affected me the most. I especially wanted to visit Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. Siem Reap was where we were heading to on the bus, having departed from Bangkok in Thailand, to get away from the riots that had been occurring on the streets there. The riots prevented us from being able to experience journeying on the overnight train, as an alternative to spending another night in a hotel room . It also prevented us from having the choice of being able to take the short flight to Siem Reap, as masses of people were congregating outside the stations and airports to protest. It was impossible to get through the throngs of people and into the buildings. Before I visited Cambodia I had an image and idea of what it would be like. Our arrival and entrance into the country bore no resemblance to the images that I had, had in my mind. If I close my eyes I can feel the heat of Siem Reap enveloping and surrounding me. See and hear the build up traffic that filled every available space on the roads. Vehicles that appeared to be going nowhere fast, yet their horns and the voices of their drivers and passengers were going ten to the dozen and at top volume . Strange shapes loomed in the distance, taking form the closer they drew, until suddenly, you realised it was a motorbike with three people on the seat and another three sticking out sideways, with chickens in baskets balanced precariously on either side. The juxtaposition of sickeningly flagrant displays of wealth in the beautiful sumptuous hotels built for and used by tourists, inhabiting the space next to that of a crumbling wreck of a building; with no working electricity, broken bamboo blinds as window coverings instead of glass and an outdoor shower, that was home to an impoverished, yet seemingly happy local family. Again I experience the tremble of excitement I felt upon entering the indoor market filled with all manner of worthless trinkets but also an amazing array of beautiful brightly coloured bales of cloths. The smiling face and happy chatter of the young mother and her daughter who sold us our cushions and silk table runner made me feel like a welcomed visitor. The tastes and appearance of food that excited my palate and imagination in a way that dishes from my own world never did, remains just as vivid and alive on my taste buds now as when I first experienced them. My memories of all these moments are safely tucked away in the recess of my mind, until such time as I choose to open up the vault and retrieve them into the here and now in order to re-encounter the wonder of it all.

Here is my poem about the journey there and subsequent disembarkment. The poem is entitled, ‘Phaedrus is Gone’.

Phaedrus is Gone

We were all strangers at the start, with unique reasons for being there.
Young ones embarking on an exciting adventure.
Some ones escaping to an anonymous existence.
Other ones just making their way from A to B,
and us, the ones desperate for exploration of new sights, new faces, natural highs.

The bus was of an expensive calibre, air-conditioned, cushioned seats.
Regular stops at different roadside venues along the way.
Passengers had neck cushions, headphones for music and e-books to read.
There were blankets and encompassing arms should one feel chilly,
shoulders to lean on, hands to hold and lips to kiss if comfort was sought

Shock registered, as the searing heat hit on departing our air-conditioned enclave,
in a Cambodia reached quicker than anticipated. With no bus to take us fully in,
we’d have to bear our own loads whilst walking in the oppressive haze of heat.
Like peasants from an old black and white western, covered in dust,
weary from the weight carried, we stumbled on towards a new horizon.

A colossal archway materialised out of the dust in the air.
An impressive, yet solitary remnant of a lost and proud civilization.
In my mind I named it Phaedrus, the archway its one remaining artefact.
Encompassed by the ominous incessant landscape of sand and sky
I thought of Shelley’s Ozymandias and mused about its creator.

2 thoughts on “A Room With a View

  1. This is beautiful, I can completely imagine the scene! Many of my friends have been to Cambodia, but I have not made it there yet. You have inspired me to go..thank you.


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