It was a coincidence really… This morning I got it in my head to count how many days I’ve been on the road. And wouldn’t you know it? 100. 100 days. Whoa.
And I will admit it. Today – I am weary. Climbing up and down the deep valleys far in the Cambodian jungles on the heals of eight wonderous elephants might have something to do with it. The grief I still feel from my tearful goodbye as Millot (my fave elephant) disappeared into the tall trees could be playing a role in my fatigue. Or perhaps it’s remnants of the 36 hour “flu” I experienced earlier this week (during which I had the pleasure of throwing up into Cambodian toilets full of diminutive frogs at 2 o’clock in the morning) .
Regardless, my energy is low. And yet I have SO many stories to tell of the past weeks. So today – I will rely on images to tell my tales … along with a smattering of words.
These pigs had my heart … As soon as I started rubbing Jiggly’s ears she would topple over onto her side so I could give her prodigious belly a good rub. They’ll be given to local villagers soon as part of the Elephant Valley Project’s “Piggy Bank” program – whereby they “rent” pigs to villagers so they can then have piglets of their own – after which they’ll return the original pig. We built a pig palace on one of our volunteer afternoons – nailing and hammering and sawing together a fine house for our friends.
This “shop” (carted about by a single motor bike) was just one of the colorful things I glimpsed from my breakfast table in the dusty town of Sen Monorom. Across from me that morning sat one man with one eye whose pet monkey recently passed away (and who wore his sadness like a heavy sweater in the heat) and his friend – another Ex Pat in for the weekend who invited me to visit him at the Correspondent’s Club in Bangkok when I’m in town.
My favorite lunch spot – a small platform nestled close to the coffee plantation I visited over the weekend. Mr. Dol (a local motorbike “taxi” driver) whisked me into the hills to this little oasis – me wrapping my arms around his buddha belly as he gunned it down a narrow strip of red earth through the local black pepper fields. He got me situated here with my “Cambodian pancake” and I thought he would leave me to enjoy the serenity. Alas, he settled himself into the hammock, turned on his tiny phone to play (surprisingly loud) Cambodian music – singing along from time to time before he fell asleep (when his singing turned to snoring). So not the zen retreat I anticipated. Still – a lovely afternoon.
Not sure I really need to put words to this one. Aside to say that I truly hope I get to visit this sign – this place – again some day in the not-too-distant future. It has my heart.