Mrs Woog visits Cambodia – Part Three

One of the things that is screamingly obvious to me, now that I am a cruising expert with an impressive four nights under my belt, is the fact that there is extreme cruising politics, of which I am quickly realising.

Now this cruise that I am on is a small, intimate affair with only about 45 guests on board. 98% of them are retirees while 2% of us are the babies of the group. And when I say babies, I mean we are in our forties. Yesterday was a changeover day, which meant that we said farewell to half of the original gang and HELLO to some newcomers.

Brian, the Aussie chef, informed us that we were welcoming one American, a couple of Swedes and a handful of Germans.

We joined the American gent for lunch. He was a retired surgeon. One of the comforting things about being on the boat in the middle of nowhere is the fact that there are a lot of surgeons and doctors travelling as guests. So far I have resisted the urge to get medical advice, but I am only one cocktail away from ripping off my shirt and obtaining an expert, yet free, skin check.

Mike, who left yesterday, was a retired Urologist from the UK who specialised in incontinence issues so I had many questions for him, which he was only too happy to answer. He loved his job and his little eyes would light up when he would tell me stories about his triumphant procedures. He literally had the power to change people’s lives by injecting botox into slack and lazy bladders. I adore those passionate people.

The American Surgeon used to be an aneithetisct. Oh, and a pilot and a Pulitzer prize winner. He also happens to be eighty and one off the most amazing storytellers that I have ever met. I could listen to him for hours, which is not a bad thing because here on the boat, I have time on my side.

But that’s the thing about cruising life. You can be anything that you want to be. I mean, you could go about life on board telling people that you won Australia’s Next Top Model back in 1994 and no one can dispute it. You could be the person that you could only dare to dream of when it comes to real life.

And the other thing of note is rudeness. Getting on board a boat doesn’t necessarily mean that it is all sunshine and lollypops and rainbows everywhere. I understand that when you are retired, time is of the essence, but does that allow you to push in at the front of a line, bark orders at smiling, patient wait staff or yell at someone because they are about to sit in a seat that you have saved for your travelling partner?

And then there is the total killjoy that is the serial complainer. That one person who will not only find fault with absolutely everything, but will take extreme pleasure in telling you all about it. Yesterday I sat there and listened to him complain about how the water tastes so much better back home, and had to resist the urge to inform him that he should de-commission his passport and never leave his house again. But I smiled and nodded and internally rolled my eyes.

So I learn whose table I am welcome to join via trial and error. I am lucky to be travelling with my Mum, who could charm the pants off a brown snake.

Today we farewell Cambodia as we cross the border into Vietnam. Cambodia has been quite the emotional rollercoaster. I spent yesterday afternoon at The Killing Fields and have not even started to mentally address the stories and sights that I experienced. A lot of people opted out of this excursion, but I nominated to put my big girl panties on and get myself a little informed about the Pol Pot Dictatorship. In hindsight, I should have stayed on board and played canasta, but I didn’t.

To be continued…

  • Donna

    Mmmmmm politics, everywhere! I would have to miss the killing fields. Read enough.mNothing good for me there. I too hate the serial complainer. I was once shocked when travelling with a wonderful helpful work friend who totally surprised me by being a rude demanding complainer. Suck it up buttercup.

  • Tracey

    There are two cruises in my future in 2018 so I am looking forward to many helpful tips from you Mrs Woog! Enjoying your travels from the boredom that is my desk at work.

  • Good on you for taking the tour to The Killing Fields. My Cambodian neighbour told me about fleeing for her life across a rice paddy, her arms wrapped around her mothers neck, while bullets fired overhead from both sides. She was 7. It was such an eye opener for me.
    Enjoy the bar, Lovely!

  • Just had a Woog marathon, reading all 3 posts at once and I want more! Sounds very interesting. The Killing Fields would have been intense, I have goosebumps just thinking about it. Enjoy your time over there for you will soon be back home telling boys to pick up towels and eat more greens. xxx

  • Bee

    Loving it! Thx Mrs W

  • sheribombblog

    Well done on doing the Killing Fields. As difficult as it is sometimes, we must not turn away from the atrocities of the past. I recently visited Japan in December and as part of our trip we spent a few days in Hiroshima. It’s such a surreal city, with goosebumps around every corner. The a-bomb dome is a constant reminder from all angles of the city and the memorial and peace park are so incredibly tough but I am SO glad I did them. So very emotional, I cried many tears, and that draining, sinking feeling stuck around for a while after but the city is so gorgeous and the people so kind and resilient that it is truly a life lesson. Everyone should visit Hiroshima in their lives. I felt completely changed after.