On this journey, the life of a traveler, you come into contact with so many people within the places you see. So many people leave imprints on your life, for the rest of your life I find myself wanting to hold onto many of them. But they are a part of the ebb and flow of the life of a nomad. These are a few gems I met along the way to and from Cambodia.
"Are you singer?"- Polin
"No, I'm a writer. I work in television in New York."- Me
"Are you single?"- Polin
"Oh, am I single? Oh, no. I have a boyfriend. And you? Do you have any family, children?" -Me
"Yes, I have one daughter."- Polin
"Congratulations! Are you married?"- Me
"Of course. No wife, no daughter."- Polin
Polin was my guide and driver throughout all of Ta Prohm, Angkor Thom, and Angkor Wat. He shuttled me around in his tuk tuk through a terrential downpour and sunshine to make sure I saw everything I wanted to, and those I didn't know I wanted to. He was sweet. There was a genuine innocence to him that really struck me as kind. After getting lost for twenty minutes in Ta Prohm, I needed to eat before continuing the journey. I'd already decided that I would pay for Polin's lunch before he even sat down. Our conversation webbed into talk of other countries he'd love to visit, as well as the fact that I was his first customer all month. It was September 29th. He spoke alot about different salaries people could make in varying countries doing different types of work, especially in New York. His fee was $10 to drive me around the ruins from 1pm until close, and back to my hostel. I tipped him as well, and he wrote down (in perfect English) all of his contact information, in case I needed a ride the next day.
While eating with Polin, I couldn't help but meet eyes with Vahtaa (I apologize if the name is spelt wrong), a young man with the most beautiful eyes and chisled face I'd seen in Cambodia.He smiled when all the children came up asking for me to buy something off of them. Not because of the rush, but because they would all stop and stare at me. He told me that they had never seen a foreigner with an earring like mine. They liked it.
"Are you from South Africa?"- Vahtaa
"No, America. I'm fron New York."- Me
"Oh because I am studying South African culture in school and you look like their style." -Vahtaa
His English was impeccable. We spoke about how he was working in Ta Prohm when they shot Tomb Raider. His tales of Angelina Jolie and them shutting the site down for a time were entertaining. I was really captured by him, as he was so young and so intelligent. I gave him my card with the link to the website on it, telling him it could help with his English reading. I really hope he stops by. More than that, I hope his future is as bright as his smile.
In the midst of my painful bowel before the Cambodian border, I hadn't really noticed that Yalan had been one of the many people on the bus. From China, she's traveling around and we ended up having only one person sit between us in the minivan ride from the Thai border back into Bangkok. It was in this ride we realized we were going the same way, to Chiang Mai. We now had a traveling partner in each other. We left Khao San Road, journied to Hua Lampong station to acquire tickets for the overnight train to Chiang Mai. Downtown, we ate dinner and got to know each other better. She is an amazing artist and allowed me into the world that is the pages of her personal journal. Though in Mandarin, it read like a comic book. She had little illustrations that depicted what she was talking about in words...well, characters. We were together from Cambodia all the way up to Chiang Mai, the next morning. I couldn't have asked for better company.
Honorable mentions in this blog are:
Anthony, Georgia, and their Mom who I teamed up with in order to get Cambodian visas (sketchy) and make it across the border in one piece.
Also Ms. Jo Peeps, who was my right hand woman the entire time I was in Siem Reap. We shared a room, and the fish spa!
You all mean more than you know. Thank you.