Nottingham Travel Blog

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We spent several hours in Charing Cross A&E, while Emma explained about rabies vaccines to the nurse. Eventually, they found one dose in the bottom of a drawer, told her to phone a different hospital the next day, and turfed us out. England is no good at tropical diseases.

We said a rushed goodbye at King's Cross and I finished the last few hundred miles alone. We'd spent every hour together for four weeks and suddenly I had to manage by myself. I don't like it.

Now I'm back. Everyone is pleased to see me, and I can't stop talking. I'm destitute, have no photos, and am officially 40% less beautiful due to my three new scars. Emma has another three weeks of intramuscular injections, half a missed term at uni and may still develop malaria, but at least her elephant dung paper is intact.

I hope I have made it at least a little bit clear how beautiful and amazing and terrifying and incredibly complex the tiny part of South East Asia we saw is. It is dangerous, and for the last three days I was  scared for the first time in my life - scared that our luck had finally run out and that I, or Emma, or both of us, were going to die thousands of miles from home and from everyone we knew. But that is the price you pay for seeing things that no one else has ever seen, and that no one else ever will - because Cambodia is moving forwards all the time, roads are being built, the country is opening up to tourism and to being tamed. Thailand is sliding towards being just another generic holiday destination - homefood, Western music, English spoken here. In ten years, both places will be unrecognisable. As another tourist, I'm no one to moan about the situation.

But in the midst of all the danger and the progress, are people, and the mountains, and stories. I don't regret a single thing, and wouldn't have even if we had fallen to our deaths in Bokor, or drowned in the open ocean, or been pulled from a taxi by the Khmer Rouge. Fear is just another form of currency.

So, you go to SE Asia. It's not a holiday. Afterwards, one will understand. But you do it, because it's there, and you do it in blind faith and when you come home, you are grateful. But you're not complacent.

And you're not satisfied.
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photo by: delpumu