Friday, October 02, 2009

Vietnam & Cambodia Journal Sept 09

Getting notification from AirAsia about new route to Saigon was just like a blast in my heart, so it beat so fast I couldn't believe that in just 15 minutes I got email in my inbox, "You should go to Saigon on Sept the 18th!" The quickest decision of travel plan I ever made.

A month before departing to Saigon was one of the confusing time in my life. Being stagnant in my mind, I was struggling with what I really wanted in life. Taking risk was as hard as standing myself on my surfing board, really couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. While I realized it happened many times in my life, it was one of the worst. I sluggishly lived my days. Everytime I woke up a day after a sleep, I would have expected I had something new in the morning.

And booking the ticket in a blink of an eye was just an unplanned decision I made. Looking back to 9 days I had in Vietnam and Cambodia, I felt relieved. I believe there was always light and joyous celebration at the end of the tunnel. Always.

Being traveled 1500 miles away from home, I forgot how unplanned the travel plan was. But it was just like any other traveler who could always find their ways back home. It's been 27 years living life, I still found it was great to have got the lesson of the roadtrip dad had taught me before, 18 years back on the tiring road from Palembang to Jakarta. Before departing to Saigon, my heart was always being joyful from the first time getting message from Natasha which led my feet into the whopping big boat party with completely more than 60 strangers. Being drunk was just the small part on the opera of celebrating life.


The smile of sweet couple, Alex and Anju, was delightful, even much better than being drunk itself. It was just damn good to meet someone when I felt like a stranger in the city. They are just brother and sister I met, 1000 years ago in previous life. Smiles in Saigon would never be enough without them as well: Adam and Steve, Austin, Kat and other 60 people I met there!

Being far from home, it was always awesome to meet Indonesian, Bill and Yani, that I could talk without being stupid pronouncing English. I was so lucky having difficulty filling my arrival card that I had chance to start conversation with them. Again, from completely strangers to friends that I would always be comfortable to spend the time with.


Packing anything in just 10 minutes and sleeping just 1 hour after boat party to take another journey afterward were just easy to do - faith that in just one hour my eyes would see another beauty in life. I did. Faith that there would always be place to sleep, just like what in Saigon, where Viet graciously offered place to stay in his nice apartment. I did hope to have missed my day tour to Mekong Delta, expecting I still had more days to enjoy Saigon and meet nicest people in there. But I needed to let go.


I joked myself to walk alone in the middle of the night in Phnom Penh and it was the silliest joke the universe ever heard, I guess. THAT laughed so hard. It was just a coincidence that I could walk without being robbed in the downtown of the city. I wasted no time in the city to see how genocide could do that such a worst thing in life, killing hundreds of thousands people without appreciating how joyful a life should be for everyone. How meaningful the time killed people might have spent with loved ones. How precious for a mother to spend the day with her one-month baby, even it was just for couple of minutes.


At least the beauty and charm of two Germans, Birthe and Jana, have changed the whole depressing things in the city into the awesomeness of traveling together for a week. I threw away the hesitation of how awkward the feeling would be being with strangers. They are sisters from far-away land. The awesomeness of Angkor beer was just incomplete without the genuine smile of Putu Resi, an Indonesian girl who had spent time with me planning the trip.


Undoubtedly I walked down the street in Siem Reap with faith that being in the biggest religious place in the world was just incomplete without having a laid-back conversation with monk. Being good to all people was just the confirmation of what I had been practicing over the past 6 months. Karma was just logical thing I started to believe the first time in my life. I started believing that the coolest people in life wasn't Jason Mraz, but monks.


One morning after being so drunk in Siem Reap, I celebrated life quietly at the corner of Angkor Wat, alone with songbird, grass field and warm sunlight in one morning. I clapped hands rejoicing how great life I had, how great life people had.

"For you, there will be no crying
For you, the sun will always be shining
For you, the songbird will keep singing like no more days

For you, there will always be morning
For you, there will always be sweetness to taste
For you, there will always be air to breathe
For you, there will always be smile to keep you up
For you, there will always be moment to cherish

Food to eat
Places to see
Lips to kiss
Beard to shave
Luna and darkness to make you sleep
Past to forget
Future to embrace

Best friend to be with
Laughter to lift your bad mood
Problems to solve
Song to sing

For you, universe will be always loves you"



The 216 smiling faces in Bayon, the 2 days of being in sacred place, the thousands of people from all over the world witnessing how magnificent humankind's creature could be have brought countless blessing in 3 days in Siem Reap.


And it was just as big as countless smile and laughter of the 3 people I met in siem Reap: Ben, Love and Matthias. Cheek to cheek, shoulder to shoulder, ass to ass and hugs were the best way to warm ourselves in the midst of raining, in the middle of the night whilst driving two wheels of moving object in the downtown of the city. Hand to hand, heart to heart, beer to beer. Shaking butt was the coolest thing we did in the city whilst speaking the same language of love. Be in love. 'Poooop' sound created by a bottle of Angkor beer and chopstick was the best way to describe how playful our nights in Siem Reap were. We playfully changed our mind.


I could always find home, back to Jakarta. I hope we can find our way to meet again someday, brothers and sisters! And there will always be a start for traveler.

Happy celebrating life!


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