Trompe le Monde: A Round the World Tour Diary

An online travel diary so people can keep up to date with what I'm doing and where I'm going.

Location: Home, United Kingdom

You all know who I am, I assume.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Darker Side of Travelling

We finally left Phnom Penh, dragging ourselves away from the high life of having a mate with a bar, and got our arses on a bus to Siem Reap, a city in northern Cambodia, the name of which means "Thailand defeated" in Khmer (the national language here, and also what you're supposed to say instead of "Cambodian". This is perhaps undiplomatic given it's proximity to Thailand, but then you're talking about an area of the world in which last year there were anti-Thai riots (I think like a low-key version of the infamous Kristallnacht in Berlin) cos some dumb bint of a Thai actress was (mis?)quoted in a magazine as saying Angkor Wat is in Thailand.

Speaking of Angkor Wat, that's why we're here. The Khmer empire used to be the big dog in this particular Asian yard, you see, and at the height of their power their capital was veyr near Siem Reap. They constructed some absolutely enormous temples, and many of them are still in a good state today, including Angkor Wat itself, apparently the world's largest religious building. It's on the flag of Cambodia, and "Angkor" is the name of the national beer, so you can see how it's a big deal for most Cambodians (sorry, Khmer). It's almost as if they are trying to hide the Khmer Rouge's atrocities by focussing on a period of their history when they were great. Which is fair enough.

Of course, all my comments about Angkor Wat must be taken with a pinch of salt, as I have no idea what it's like. I haven't seen it, you see. No, instead, I've been laid up for two days with acute tonsilitis that came upon me all of a sudden our last night in Phnom Penh. And no, I didn't catch it like that.

I've had tonsilitis before, so I knew what to expect: the pus at the back of the throat, the white spots on the tonsils, the extremely high temperatures, the mad delirium in the middle of the night due to fever... But of course when I've had it before I've been at home, and had a) my Mum and Dad to tend to me, and b) the ability to drink cups of tea and hot lemsip. Here I've basically been left to fend for myself, especially as my housemates abandoned me and went to another room so they didn't get infected. This has basically meant lying in bed for two days, feeling awful. In the past, tonsilitis has gone away of it's own accord when I've rested, but this morning, with it having gotten no better in two or three days, I decided to bite the bullet and go to the doctor.

Of course, I went private, so I can't tell you about the Khmer National Health Service, if they have such a thing. I went to a lovely clinic thing where the nurse took my blood pressure and told me it was normal (I should hope so!) and the doctor charged me US$50 for a diagnosis I'd made myself for nowt. But he did give me some antibiotics and stuff, so hopefully now I'll start getting better. And maybe I'll be able to get my insurance to pay me for the treatment.

Right, that's it, I'm off to my room to lie in bed on my own and fail to sleep. Schadenfreude to the usual address...


Post a Comment

<< Home