Thursday, November 30, 2006

Into the Heart of Darkness

I guess the Vietnam War lodged itself in my memory alongside The Beatles, Nixon and the death of John Lennon as iconic moments during my formative years. My taste for the Orient deepened during our honeymoon to Thailand and, soon, we'll be flying out to Saigon, and working our way up the Mekong into Cambodia.

It's almost time to say bye bye to Blighty and head for the humidity of the Mekong and its lands. We fly into
Saigon and then have some boat trips planned throughout the Mekong delta, visiting family businesses and floating markets. Our guide then takes us from Can Tho to Chau Doc via village wanderings which should be great! From Chau Doc the speed boat takes us to Phnom Penh ("5 hours" - every trip in Cambodia apparently takes "5 hours"!). Nothing prepares you for Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields, but we're here to immerse ourselves in the culture and history, not lie on a beach somewhere. We'll then fly on to Siem Reap for a good few days to look around Angkor, before the trio of flights home (Siem Reap to Saigon; Saigon to Frankfurt; Frankfurt to Heathrow).

We're both passionate readers and and there's no better book than Francois Bizot's "The Gate" to understand recent Cambodian history. I'd urge anyone with an interest in Indochina to read this important book. For an insight into life as a foreign correspondent, try John Swaine's "River of Time".

No comments: