Monthly Archives: February 2013

Sihanoukville Cambodia Coastline Map

map of Shanoukville Cambodia

Otres Beach is beautiful and therefore I am sunburnt.

My hands are stiff from my grip on the motorbike handle bars, Alex and I waited out the last of the light on the beach and drove back into town as the moon rose. I am stressed out and my chest feels tight. Alex’s front headlight stayed dark the entire ride, and I lit the way just ahead of her as the lights from the city came into view.

I know how to drive a motorbike and I wasn’t worried about an accident, but we couldn’t take the route we had coming into the beach. I was disoriented and intimated by the poverty that coated the road sides. Blank stares and dark corners.

We are now safely back in Sihanoukville and everything will be better in the morning. It always is. The sunburn will subside.

map of Sihanoukville Cambodia Sihanoukville beach at sunset cambodia

 

[March 2012]

Pai Thailand | New Country for Old Friends

illustrated map of pay thailand

I met Alex when I was eleven. She was twelve and so much cooler. We raced down a dirt road and we were instant friends.

 

I’ll never forget that night in Thailand when we met again.

 

The night market was being packed up by sticker vendors and pad thai street chefs. Slowly the crowd had moved from meandering the alleyways of Pai to the Thai pubs playing British soccer games. I was headed back to my hut in the rice paddies when mid sentence, mid step, I heard a voice that stopped me dead in my tracks. I swung around and behind me Alex Meeker and her three friends sat beer deep in a pitcher. What ensued next could have been out of an episode of girls, there was hugs, and high pitched voices, and a general air of disbelief that miles and miles away from home there was a familiar face in the crowd.

 

I hadn’t seen Alex in three or four years, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

 

My visa was expiring the next day, and we made plans to meet the next week in Cambodia.

 

New country for old friends.

 

[Early March 2012]

Cambodia New Favourites-4

Hong Kong MRT Map

Hong Kong Subway System Map - Map Collection

The bathroom had a line, like all women’s bathrooms across the world I knew it would have a line… and Hong Kong the most densely populated place in the world, of course, had a nice long line of well dressed business class women. I was just outside the airport at the entrance to the MTR underground subway in Hong Kong. I wasn’t waiting for a toilet, only a sink and so with my bulky camera bag on my back I shuffled to the front to wash my face.

I was meeting my friend and her new baby son, and I smelt like day old beer and a night on the airport floor. I had just flown from Bangkok to Hong Kong on a red eye, and as I stood at the sink surrounded by locals brushing my teeth, I felt for the first time in my life homeless.

My hair was disheveled; I had run into a friend on Koa San Road, the late night, sometimes precarious tourist district, as I waited for an airport shuttle bus – the impromptu reunion led to more than a few Chang beers, a little dancing, top forty music blaring, and a missed bus, which then became a later night cab ride.

At 3am only slightly intoxicated I set up a makeshift bed, and spent a few hours on the airport floor to save a few dollars. My flight took off at 6am – what feels like a decade ago, and it is now 11:00. I’ve brushed the knots out of my hair, much shorter than when I started this trip, and changed my shirt. I had only one clean option left my backpack.

I’m being stared at; I’m a foot taller, and a hell of a lot blonder than any one else in the bathroom. I feel self conscious about my loose travel clothing, and the fact that I am brushing my teeth in a public washroom.  Hong Kong is business and I am out of place, I feel like I don’t belong this late in the morning, still foggy.

I often ask myself how did I end up here? Its not that I didn’t make a conscious choice to go to Hong Kong but when I left home three months ago I could have never predicted my current situation.

Yet here I was, about to ride in a tube underwater to an island filled to the brim with people. A tube that moves millions of people around everyday and all I could think about was my hangover and the new conversion rate I was still trying to grasp. I put some makeup on covering up the bags under my eyes from the lack of sleep, stared at myself in the mirror, and then conspicuously I watched the people milling around me. It is a habit of a photographer people watching, culture watching. Then with a quick look at my watch, I walk out of the bathroom, no longer homeless but with places to be and a friend to meet.

[adapted from March 2012]