Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Foreigners corresponding in a Club

With mosquito heaven, aka Siem Reip, ahead of us, I thought a long sleeve shirt might be in order, so I got one when we got back to the hotel. All the best brands were available forged there, so I picked up a fancy pants shirt, if such a thing exists. Now mosquitoes, do your worse! Ha, ha, what little I knew.

We stopped into the Foreign Correspondents Club on the way to dinner. This is something of a historical landmark given that foreign journalists congregated here before having to flee Pol Pot making it a kind of outpost of resistance in that terrible time. Historical or not we had some rather horrible cocktails (my first one had a soapy aftertaste)- and they took such a long time to arrive too! - mixed in with some rather good ones (we took Happy Hour as an opportunity to experiment...with many). We stood on the top floor overlooking the river. The view was as Asian/colonial as you could get. Locals gathered by the riverside, while tourists drank in the French-style bars and restaurants. The sun, first a glowing red, sank and left the lanterns along the street to themselves and the geckos. As they winked on, the handy little lizards became silhouetted in the glare. Then the bats flew out. It was a wonderful time of day.

Dinner was in another charity style restaurant, this time an NGO (Non Government Operation) more closely related to orphans. After a mighty fine meal, the kids were trotted out. I have to confess to feeling a mite queasy at these kind of things, but it does give the kids a chance to practise their English, and donations naturally go up afterwards. The street urchins, for the most part sellers of photocopied books, did not wish to be excluded from the fun and before we knew it we were surrounded by doe-eyed monsters. Sarah expressed an interest in the Lonely Planet for Thailand and alienated one little mite by buying it from another while she went off to track it down. Naturally I got into arm and thumb-wrestling, being beaten repeatedly by hordes of the creatures. Phil sat in a corner teaching some other kid chords on the guitar.

It was tiring, but a wonderful antidote to the darkness earlier in the day.


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