We’re off to Cambodia thanks to cheap airfares that were too good to resist.  In the spirit of travelling light, a day backpack is all that I’ll have with me.  There’s space for a camera, a notebook, a drawing pad, pencils, and Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way.  I’m testing out some new quick dry clothes.  Toiletries, sunscreen and the like comply with airport security requirements.  Tossing in a hat, my passport, and walking shoes.  That’s enough.   Let’s go!

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 “Travel changes you.  As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small.  And in return, life – and travel- leaves marks on you.  [...]  It’s an irritating reality that many places and events defy description.  Angkor Wat and Machu Picchu, for instance, seem to demand silence, like a love affair you can never talk about.”   Anthony Bourdain.  The Nasty Bits 

It’s slices of time, snapshots at best.  It’s personal.  The breath taking moments, the ones that evoke silence, burn in your memory and fuel the desire to head off again.  I’m packing for a visit to Cambodia (and Angkor Wat) and reflecting on how my travel habits have changed over time.

Stay longer.  Instead of wanting to see as much as possible, I now explore slowly.

Read later.  In the past, I would research ‘everything’ about a place before I left.  Now, I want to be surprised by what I find.  Any reading can wait until I return home.

Stay in choice.  We used to book all or most accommodation before departure thus fixing our path.  Now, only the first and last nights are locked in.   If the place doesn’t work for us, we can move somewhere that does.

Less is more.  This trip my pack weighs 6 kilograms.  Carry on bag only.  You can manage when bags go astray, but time is wasted when you have to retrieve them.

Write at the end of each day.   Some things never change.     

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 China : Ciqikou Village near Chongqing

I didn’t hang around to see whether this delicate toffee dragon lasted the distance in the hands of this little boy.  Within seconds of the purchase, his father was attempting to manage a sticky situation.

 

 

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Shanghai food

Shanghai has its own particular cuisine which you can enjoy as ‘fast food’ or fine dining.  Some of the delights in this selection from our week in Shanghai include tea leaf smoked egg with caviar, braised Shanghai cabbage and black mushrooms, Shanghai dumplings, camphor smoked duck and clams in savoury custard.  The dumpling meal (bottom right hand corner) was A$7 for two and included a bottle of beer between us.  The most expensive meal (on our last night) was at Ye Shanghai and cost A$70 for two with a bottle of Californian Zinfandel. 

Shanghai is hosting Expo 2010 from May to October.  The city centre will be alive with a renewed Bund promenade enhancing its already modern architecture and infrastructure.  Worth a revisit I reckon.

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iStockphoto - Shanghai

It’s time for a short holiday.  We’re heading to China.  I will be stepping away from the laptop for 12 days and reverting to reading printed material and writing with ancient pen instruments onto blank paper.  The one digital item in the bag will be a camera.   The pen, paper and pics may become the source of future posts here.  First stop – Shanghai.

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