A Travellerspoint blog

February 2012

Batak Dreams

rain 18 °C

Ive jumped ahead of myself here so that i can share with you a moment i have had recently in Sumatra.

I along with a Dutch couple had intended on visiting a coffee plantation that specialised in Luwak Coffee, the ride was to take about 4 hours on a motorbike and was to take us through a Jungle road normally reserved for logging trucks and little else.

Enroute through the Jungle we got caught up in a spell of torrential rain so we had to take cover in a small shack, a wooden building that had to be the Indonesian version of a service station. So we stayed there and played cards for nearly 3 hours while the rain flooded the roads.

In the hut we met an Indonesian who spoke a little English, we ended up naming this guy Mr Movie.

Mr Movie shared with us his Videos of himself singing on the roads of the Jungle. He sent me it through good old Bluetooth (havent used bluetooth for years!). I promised that i would upload this to YouTube... of course i would, this was too good to miss...

So please enjoy Mr Movie singing on the Jungle road in Sumatra...

Mr Movie ended up showing us to the coffee plantation, he stayed for a cup of coffee, then he stayed and had dinner with us, then he stayed and drank turak with us, and then he stayed the night.... When we left in the morning, Mr Movie was stood there waving us off from a house that he had never been to, nor had he even known the people of the house until the night before....

Such is the way in Indonesia....

Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 00:42 Archived in Indonesia Tagged indonesia village jungle singing batak sumatra solo dreams Comments (0)

Do Not Engage

sunny 25 °C

Otres Beach, Shianoukville, Cambodia – 24th December

Spending Christmas on the beach is not a bad way to pass away the days and to make sure that I am completely exempt from any stresses or anxieties of the constant pressures of existence when it comes down to the festive period.

So it was only right that I punish myself in a way to relieve the bad karma I had clearly earned by being so damn selfish.

Lying on a beach I had very little to do other than to look forward to the food feast that was being cooked for us tonight by a Dutch family. In my complete idleness I am looking at all the buff hairless chests of those with enough masculinity and testosterone to make Tina Turner begin to recede. I look disappointedly at my chest and belly rug. I was being openly chestily challenged and I hadn’t felt this inadequate since comprehensive school at 12 years old, when I had a huge case of beard envy. My manicuring habits had not ventured north of my pubic mullet and south of my whispy beard and so my chest had been feeling slightly neglected.

Maybe fete came calling when during my bout of idle insecurity I was approached by the regular Cambodian hawkers who had been plaguing this beach.

‘Masaaaaa’aaaaggge, Sir?’ The way they hold on to that word takes some effort.

‘Sir, your feet, you need a pedicure?’

‘No, sorry none of them, but what I am really bothered about is this knot of hair, what can you and your Btec in Health and Beauty from Kirby College do for me?’

I had initiated a chain reaction that was now out of my control. First rule of dealing with Hawkers is ‘DO NOT ENGAGE HAWKERS.’
I had broken the rule and now I was surrounded by three of these multi-skilled therapists. They started to demonstrate to me how they could ‘make me a pretty boy.’

The clever bastards, this free demonstration left a great big tunnel in my hair highway. Their persistence and my idleness reaped dividends for them.

The next 75 minutes was spent regretting even thinking about removing any chest hair. I have always imagined that waxing was painful, but a benefit of waxing is that it is over with one clean swipe of the strip.

Try the Cambodian method. For 75 minutes I allowed these women to remove each hair out of my chest with nothing but a twisted up piece of string. These were women not to be messed around with. I kept as calm as anybody would under the circumstances, I was mindful that I was on the beach and I didn’t want to create a scene, but that lasted for about 5 minutes, then the crowds begun to get attracted to the wailing of the stupid bastard tourist who agreed to have his chest hair removed in public.

Needless to say that it was painful, my chest reddened and bled, even one of the hawkers had begun to sympathise, I swear she was 160 years old; she sat by me and tried to take my mind off the pain by stroking my nipples. I wasn’t in much of a state to argue, I would crease into a ball and cry for them to stop, they would get impatient and hold me down so that they could carry on with their work.

After 75 minutes of I lay there only glad that this experience had come to an end. It was hardly the climax that I was hoping for; I looked entirely naked without my carpet of knots to rest my medallion on. I ran into the sea to wash away the hair and the blood. I stayed in there until the crowd had dispersed. I ran out grabbed my towel and covered myself.

In private I could see what the knot of hair had been covering all this time. I wouldn’t be able to pass myself off as one of those Chest Pouting Monkeys on the beach. I was going to have to cover up this embarrassment and forget all about it.

I had quite fancied myself as a bald beach bum, I should have realised that I already had the credentials to be that, I didn’t need to take my rug off as well.

Money well spent? Well maybe not but I did learn a few valuable things that day

1. I was over charged for a start, chest hair removal is only 7 dollars, I had paid 15. Maybe the 8 dollars was to cover the stroking services of super gran
2. DO NOT ENGAGE WITH HAWKERS
3. I do not like my new bald chest and belly
4. I won’t be doing that again

I was told that it would take 3 months to grow back, that’s clearly a lie, I'm not even a couple of days into it and I have already got stubble.

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Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 00:17 Archived in Cambodia Tagged beach cambodia christmas hair otres removal hawkers string Comments (1)

The Floating Village, Cambodia

sunny 20 °C

Floating Village - 20th December 2011

Just outside of Siem Reap there is a village, which is a little different from others I have seen. To get to the Village you have to charter a boat on the Tonle Sap Lake which Phnom Penh sits at the opposite end. I'm not sure what the Cambodian name is for this place but where I am from you would call this this waterworld, or some persons idea of a tourist attraction. Indeed, it is a tourist attraction only because it is so incomprehensible, only it is not one of the Chinese type prefabricated variety like Dwarf City where all the little people live in mushroom castles where they sing and dance and put on a variety show for the gawping Chinese.

People including myself, want to see this as this is impossible to understand without visiting how a floating village actually looks, and what kind of person lives there. People are not made for water, and if we were we would have Kevin Costner type gills.

In Cambodia there are different rules and life for the majority is about farming to exist, it is still very much an agrarian state. If the only way to exist in Cambodia is to be a permanent fisherman then let's go fish!!

There are advantages to living on water.

1) Low council tax (I bet!)
2) Neighbour dog keeping you up on a night? Well up anchor and move along.
3) Swim to your neighbours and keep in shape, watch out for the crocodiles though..

In fact, the ameneties in this village is like any other, so this village doesn’t let the fact that it is built on water deter it from having what all decent villages around the globe need to have a buoyant (pun intended) community spirit. What more could you want in a community.

Village

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A floating Catholic Church

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A floating Pig Farm

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A floating Crocodile Farm

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A floating shop where you can buy all your essentials....

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A floating billiards hall

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A floating school with basketball court

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And then to top it all off we have children floating in tubs holding bloody big pythons. If your mother could see you now… oh there she is, encouraging you to beg for a dollar.

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There was even a floating Orphanage of which i didnt take a photograph of...…… (ok so these are not essential to a village but in Cambodia, there are too many orphanages in too many villages)

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Article By David Beattie of Rounton Coffee

Posted by beatski 00:46 Archived in Cambodia Tagged cambodia village lake floating reap siem phnom penh tonle sap Comments (0)

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