Over the 17 days with my family we covered more than a few miles. Travelling by plane, train (bamboo, underground & sky) bus, boat, and tuktuk (with a cheeky motorbike ride thrown in for the girls) we toured Bangkok and multiple parts of Cambodia together.
Early in the holiday we developed a routine for our trips.
Seating on buses and boats was invariably of the 2:2:1 variety and so decisions were made about which child would sit with which adult and which lucky adult would have the luxury of no one to entertain but themselves (being the non parent I won that one most times, only being required as a seat companion if mum or dad were out of favour).
Tuktuks were a 3:2 affair with Grace, thanks to her tiny little bum, always taking the middle seat of the 3 and, invariably, Darryl and I sitting backwards with one or both of our legs hanging out over the back wheel.
Seating plans aside, the most important activity pre trip was procuring provisions and storing them in our ever growing food bag. To our purchases of biscuits, sweets, weird unknown flavours of crisps and fruit we added foods purloined from plane journeys and guesthouse breakfasts (packets of biscuits, jam and butter and from one particularly large hotel breakfast 6 ham and cheese baguettes made up from leftovers) and at least 2 litres of water but usually more.
Along with this rather cumbersome food and beverage parcel we had 2 extremely unsubtle shocking pink suitcases, an equally unsubtle 65 litre purple rucksack and day packs (more on these in a minute) for everyone to cart around on our tour. Now can you understand why Darryl & my legs hung out of the tuktuks!?!?
And so to the daypacks. For me it was the home of my Macbook, Kindle, phone, headphones and assorted cables – the essential entertainment kit for a 21st century woman on the move, along with a trusty microfibre towel (that is until it ceremonially flew from Darryl’s grasp into the bowels of the Ton Le Sap lake) more water and some Fishermans Friend extra strong mint sweets.
Emily and Grace had their own personal entertainment packs with phone and headphones, puzzle and story books, Top Trumps cards, paper & pencils and in Emily’s case, her trusty companion ‘Mr Snuggles”.
God knows what Darryl’s beast of a black backpack contained other than his book (the man carries hardbacks when he travels) and more microfibre towels – bus and boat seats get VERY sweaty in the Cambodian heat! – but whatever it was there was a lot of it, so much so that he also needed another daypack, which I think was meant to be Victoria’s, stuffed to capacity with who knows what.
And so, laden down like pack mules our journeys would begin. There were lots of memorable moments on each and every journey, though the award for most memorable has to go to the afore mentioned Slow boat to Battambang.
For me, however, one really fond memory stands out. A feature of every journey we took and lots of times in between were the songs and games. Sometimes involving everyone, sometimes just 2 or 3 but each time played with gusto and a joy to listen to or participate in. Classics like Top Trumps, Rummy, chase the Ace, noughts and crosses and Boxes were supplemented with word games a plenty and a new one on me, the one were each passing of a shop resplendent with crystal lighting and sparkly stuff invokes the singing of Sia’s Chandelier at full pelt.
Which leads me to the title of this blog. A lot of the word games involved saying what you could see – in Bangkok we counted pink and green & yellow taxis to wile away the hour long journey across town from one airport to the other – and thanks to the unfamiliar environment there was always a plethora of stuff to point at and point out. On one of our journeys in Kampot Emily was playing her own little game of say what you see which was, to put it bluntly, getting a bit annoying. However, rather than bitch and moan, Victoria and I decided to play her at her own game and proceeded to spend the next twenty minutes shouting out coconuts, mangoes, a cow and randomly pointing this way and that. Not one of the more mature, sensible games we played, but Vic and I had the time of our lives, Emily saw the funny side of it eventually and even now, thinking about it brings a grin to my lips.