I organized my notes on my Cambodia trip for the first time in nearly a year. I was impressed that I still was able to find most of the notes. But as fate is a bit cruel and has a good sense of humor the important bits I have a managed to forget seem to be the ones I have lost. Now there could be some explanations. I did bring my notes with me to China, meaning to write my tomes there. But meaning to do something and actually doing things are never the same thing with me. I also am not a particualrly well organized person and I had notes stuffed in various pockets of my travel bag and that travel bag has done as all travel bags do and for all I know it could be in Koh Si Chang, or even back in Cambodia when I returned there three months ago. Or , as I suspect, on my floor in a big pile of stuff I know I will have to deal with once I start to move it from it permanent residence on the floor to its new home...wherever it is needed. Thus the pile gets avoided.
I noticed I had encountered another problem. I have forgotten why I am blogging them to begin with. Am I blogging it because I want to be a travel writer? Is it because I see a great story here that needs to be told before Cambodia falls the Chinese economic bulldozer the way Burma and Laos have fallen? Am I blogging because I want to share it with my friends and family. I don't think that is the case. I know one person in my family reads my blogs, I am not sure my friends do unless I post in Facebook. Maybe I have the need to sort the whole trip out in my mind because it is a very raw country, very up in your face, very honest even when you don't want honesty. Westerners go to Asiafor all the wrong reasons. They go there to hide from their past. They go there to be the great white savior helping the “poor khmer” or “poor Thai” people. They go there because it is exotic and dangerous in their minds , when it is no more exotic then a trip to a Chinatown in New York or Los Angeles. They don't go there for honesty. For honesty foreigners stay home.
Which begs the question why did I go there. I know the answer. But why I went there and what happened there were two different things. Do not get me wrong , my time there was nothing like the Leonardo DiCaprio movie “The Beach”. There were no exotic Cambodian women trying to seduce me so they could harvest my organs. Actually it was weird, because unlike Thailand where I spend most of my time hanging out with females. In Cambodia I spent most of my time hanging out with guys. The women there are quite conservative. And the guys there are always up for a good adventure. In fact aside from the necessary ogling when a attractive woman walked by, there was hardly the amount of sex talk that I found in Thailand. I am sitting here I am trying to think of one sex talk mentioned to me by anyone who was not a motor-taxi driver. Except for some conversations I had with foreigners I couldn't think of any. In Thailand guys like to talk about sex, a lot. I am having the same conversations I had in highchool except on a far more frequent basis. It is not like it is all that we talk about, but it seems to be the topic of most interest. Which is why I like talking to women. We talk about history and Buddhism and politics and with the men we talk about soccer and sex.
Don't get me wrong about Thailand. The image people have of bar girls and perverts is far from the truth. Thailand is also a very conservative country. But people see want they want to see. They chose which Thailand they want. No one sees the real Thailand unless they live here a while.
I have tried to write a similar blog like I am doing for Cambodia but life here is real. I pay taxes, go to work Monday through Friday. Worry about the economy, get frustrated with work one day and have the thrill of a student not only getting what I am teaching but being able to take it to the next level of English. There is a lot I love about Thailand and keeps me here and there are things that keep me worried at night if I am wasting my life. Sometimes I get inspirations to write about what I see and do, but most of the time I don't. It is not that I dislike Thailand, it is just when I write I need some separation between me and an event. If it is too personal it is too hard to write about it.
I suppose now having explained Thailand I have a better idea why I am writing. But it is too personal. I know I have a limited time to write about the Cambodia trip before the memories fade, the scents and tastes are gone. And still I have the problem I do not know why I am writing about it. If an author writes and does not know why he is writing then the reader is also bound to be lost.
I think it is to prepare me for my next big trip. You could ask where and all I could do is shrug. Perhaps it is India. Perhaps is it is a farewell tour to south east Asia. I don't know because I write when I feel it is real. It was real in Vietnam. It was real in Cambodia. Despite my lack of writing about Thailand it is real here also. Maybe getting all this on paper has helped me unclog the writers block I have been going through for the past two months. I really hope so. The story wants to come out.