Kitty R. and Sir Last spend their last few Thai days in Bangkok. Their host – W., is an authentic man in everything he does, very empathic, but at the same time with a huge awareness of his own needs and boundaries. Artist and warrior in one Thai man. He introduces Kitty R. and Sir Last to the culinary world, where nothing is wasted and teaches Kitty how to eat rice with a spoon. For several days, the conversations are very rich and pleasant. Great hospitality!
On the day of Kitty R. and Sir Last’s departure, she feels sluggish (a little fever, gushing nose and diarrohea). She counts in her mind how many tiger mosquitoes she killed in the last days. W. takes her to the hospital, where the staff take Kitty’s blood and a secretion from her sinuses. Kitty is still not sure why the doctor suspected her of having bird flu, but the bottom line is that the result is negative. She receives pseudoephedrine and antibiotics as take away. And so, just two hours after entering the hospital, the parking lot salutes to Kitty and taps his heels for a goodbye.
And then, ladies and gentlemen, a quick flight and welcome to Cambodia.
Here the Thai proverb “when the smile disappears, mind the knife is nearby” does not apply. Here the smile on the face appears only in adequate circumstances. Khmer faces smile wonderfully, but not without a rest. Kitty has the impression that if something goes wrong, she would have time before the knife cuts the situation. And in Thailand bipolarly, either a smile or a knife. Of course, not always. Of course not everyone. Of course Kitty hyperbolizes.
On the door of the hotel room, Kitty R. and Sir Last are greeted by a sign: ‘no weapons & drugs’ like Polish ‘night silence’ or English ‘respect other guests’. Kitty asks P. (the owner) about numerous aquariums full of fish situated in the entrance of the guest house (Kitty: ‘And these fish are for what?’ P.: ‘I like them’, Kitty: ’But do they bring happiness and luck?’ P.: ‘I believe in hard work, not …’). On the other hand, incense sticks in the reception shrine burn constantly. Kitty’s heart is immediately conquered. She likes to be here!
In Cambodia, Kitty notices loads of street dogs (Thailand is rather cat-like) and ubiquitous children (small tots on plastic scooters and a bit older helping in family restaurants).
One day, when Kitty R. feels healthier, better and ready, she decides with Sir Last to see one of the eight wonders of the world. The adventure begins when they rent bicycles. There are wheels, a steering wheel, and even a pale light from dynamo, but … that day Kitty pedals fiercely, and the bike barely moves, as if the wheels changed their shape into squares.
Kitty R. and Sir Last roll on these Sisyphus brand bicycles, from east to west, from heat to heat, that is, they are visiting various temples. For Kitty R. the most impressive are the long corridors with lots of transitions, which create an incredible illusion of mirror reflections. Kitty stands at one end of the corridor and sees her reflection at the opposite end (oh wait!.. it’s not Kitty’s reflection, but another person, in addition a male). The sense of sight is crazy! However, her favourite place in Angkor is a large lake, cut by a wooden narrow bridge leading to one of the Hindu temples. The temple itself does not take a breath from the chest, but the road to it does. Monet in Cambodia!
In all that, Kitty R. has the impression that Angkor is a revue of selfie and portraits. Everyone, everywhere, pose. Everybody. Everywhere. Someone approaches a Buddhist monk, and aims a phone straight into his face. Click! There is a photo. Kitty observes the monk. He searches for something in his orange robes, then pulls out a cigarette, sighs, lights it and moves away into the bushes. Magical ideas and stereotypes verified by reality.
And in the evening, Sir Last gets a fever and passes out. Kitty R. notices that something is not going to let them out of Siem Reap. Not today. While extending the stay in a guest house half jokingly half-seriously Kitty asks P. how much it costs to rent a room for a month…