And so here we are, day 674 of this cruise down the Mekong River. And with only 24 hours left until we disembark in Saigon, it is time to do a little reflection. And nothing screams reflection more than a listicle. So strap yourselves in.
• Being on a boat with retirees started off being a bit of a challenge. With most of them being European, I found it hard to find connections. But then again I suppose that they did too. Nevertheless, I spent a good twenty minutes showing a completely dis-interested couple photos of Isobel and Chuy yesterday afternoon.
• The population of this cruise enjoy drinking alcohol. I found that by administering one gin and tonic to my person every hour and a half from noon the perfect balance for me. Plus the bubbles ran out by the third day.
• I have learnt to come to peace with awkward silences. One of the things that I was taught years ago when I did some media training was that it is not my responsibility to fill the space. It is a trick that journos use when they want to get you to fuck up during an interview. They pause, hoping that you will find it awkward and blurt out some hideous, random memory that will become the entire focus of the article.
• To make assumptions will be the undoing of you.
• Despite Australia having thousands of Mosques, I have never set foot in one in my own country. The same cannot be said for Vietnam.
• Temple Fatigue is a true ailment.
• When you visit a fish food factory, the smell with stay with you for days. I mean literally. In your hair, on your clothes and it has a fun way of embedding itself in the hairs up your nose. Fish food is mainly derived from dead fish.
• Lets do a quick audit of my personal afflictions. Hangovers = 2. 1 x broken toe. Kilos gained, I am going to estimate this at 4 kilos thanks to a combination of doing fuck all and eating 4 slices of banana cake for breakfast. Books read – two. First we make the beast Beautiful and A Street Cat named Bob. Both highly recommended.
• If I never eat white rice again in my entire life, I will be perfectly ok with it.
• I am craving a large serve of salty, hot fries.
• I miss my beloved and my boys but I know that ten minutes after I get home, I will miss this boat.
• Having spent a lot of time cruising by small, rural villages and seeing the kids smiling, playing in the water and waving madly to us, I realised that my problems are mainly ridiculous and that we all desire meaningless things that we think will make us happier, but it won’t.
• That travelling is one of the single most brilliant things that you can do. It can really change a person. In particular, cruising is the perfect environment to reflect, and write listicles.
To Be Continued…