My eyes are scanning the passing scenery; combination of rusty corrugated iron sheds, modern apartment blocks under cloudy skies, green paddy fields spiced up by the occasional pagoda and the soundtrack is Wondrous Place by Billy Fury. Fitting - somehow.
Not that this part of the world is exotic to me anymore, not that mere 7 hours of train travel can be considered a "great journey" but there is something special about a good old rickety ride, nodding off to the comforting repetitive noise of wheels on railtracks and being rocked to sleep while the world remains a blurred line outside your window.
On various occasions, travelling in China, tired and starving, my companions at the time and I were ready to venture out of our comfort zones and try whatever was on the menu being pushed around - only to find a residue of "once was sauce" and bones making a drumming noise against the aluminium pot. No, thank you. Around this time we all started to worship the Instant Noodle and Hot Water Urn gods.
As we are heading further south, with the wealth and urban decay of the city behind, we pass gorgeous emerald green fields, villages that look very similar to their Cambodian cousins, and oddities that make you giggle like a full size football pitch with a tree growing in the middle of it! Skies remain cloudy and I have to make peace with the fact that rainy season is just starting.
Along the way we are reminded of last year's horrendous floods that claimed many lives and made thousands homeless.
Dirty water lines mark many places higher that I find comfortable to think of. Let's hope this year Mother Nature will show her kinder face.
As I am fighting sleep, my mind wonders back in time. Back to one truly great and memorable train journey. Across Turkey. From East to West. Two days and one night from Van to Ankara. Having purchased our seating tickets (economic reasons of a backpacker...) and drank sufficient amount of sweet black tea with the entire crew of Van train station, we turned up on time the next day, found our spot and settled in: fairly empty carriage, few curious passengers smiling shyly, dusty seats and windows open for nature's own a/c.
Perhaps it was us being purely exotic to eastern Turkish eyes that earned us a free upgrade to - not our own compartment - but the whole train car! "For you to enjoy privacy" said the train conductor as he locked the doors behind him. And what a great ride it was! Hair rasing moments realisig that the rusting twisted mess in the bottom of the valley was in fact a train (not
unlike ours) that didn't make it.... Better not think or imagine... Breathtaking scenery, mountains, gorges, valleys and open spaces of uninhabited land. But the real memory of the trip is this: middle bunk down, me on it, flat on my belly, head in hands and face inches away from the open window, sun close to setting and outside endless orchards of sweet smelling apricot trees. Turkish delight of sorts!
anna bella betts
Never still, always on the move, looking for the perfect capture... Cambodia is currently my home, presenting endless opportunities....
In this blog you will find no profound wisdom.
Just accounts of daily life, sometimes about photography, often about wine, occasionally about travel adventures and sometimes about nothing at all.