Hammocks are an integral part of life in Cambodia, and since returning to Kampot at the beginning of the month have become a staple of my weekend routine.
My first weekend saw a visit to a lovely little riverside guesthouse known as Greenhouse where, as well as drinking coffee, eating great food, swimming in the river and reuniting briefly with VSO colleagues who popped in on route to their annual conference I engaged in a couple of lazy hours of book reading and music listening in a hammock slung in the shade of the guesthouse deck.
Weekend two saw me caught up in a slight hammock catastrophe when, having set down my various accoutrements for relaxation aka my Kindle, water bottle, phone and headphones I precariously lowered myself into the hammock on the terrace (hammock level squats and my uptight hamstrings are not a match made in heaven). Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, one of the brackets securing the hammock frame had worked lose and thus my arse making contact with the hammock induced full on hammock frame splaying and my unceremonious clatter and thud to the floor. Cue embarrassed laughter followed quickly by an inelegant scrabbling to return myself to upright as quickly as possible.
Thankfully, nothing but my pride was damaged in this incident and, having relocked the frame brackets I was able to finally indulge in the relaxation I had initially sought.
And so to the weekend just gone and one where extreme hammocking came into play. Friday afternoon saw the dawning of an extremely weird 36 hours of illness. Commencing as a headache of gargantuan proportions and accompanying indigestion like pain there followed a restless night of sweats, tossing, turning, very little sleep and a large dose of general mehness (all augmented by the presence of an unknown creature scratching and scuffling in my chest of drawers (no that isn’t a euphemism) and the hideous screech of appalling karaoke streaming in through the window into the early hours).
Saturday dawned to no lessening of the symptoms of the previous day and so I decided there was only one thing for it – I would settle myself into the hammock and chill this one out.
Having checked the brackets were secure (not going to make that mistake again in a hurry) and placed the supplies needed for swinging out an illness within reach, I lowered myself into my hammock, adjusted my pillow and there I lay. For all of five minutes that is, as just as I’d settled myself in my stomach indicated that the indigestion like feeling was in fact a precursor for that staple of South East Asian life – the sh*ts.
Hammock abandoned, I spent a few hours treading a well worn path between bed and bathroom as the evacuation commenced.
After a while I was satisfied that the bowel boogie had slowed and so once more I settled myself into my hammock to recuperate.
Drifting in and out of a sleep peppered with sweats and cramps I had a relatively peaceful few hours of hammock time before it came to my attention that my nose was running and so I scrambled unceremoniously out of the hammock to grab some tissues.
Nose blown, tiger balm and box of tissues collected, I returned to my prone position but within 15 minutes had already amassed a mountain of used tissue the size of a large termite hill along with a growing awareness that my ability to breathe was seriously diminished and so I abandoned the hammock in favour of an armchair in a vain attempt to relieve my now totally blocked sinuses.
Resigned to the fact that I now had a cold as well as the remainder of the sh*ts and a headache that wouldn’t abate I headed to bed feeling extremely sorry for myself and not looking forward to the days ahead.
And then Sunday dawned and the headache was all but gone, as were the raging cramps (a few lingering twinges remained) along with all signs of yesterday evenings full blown cold. And in honour of this joyful discovery I quickly gathered my things and headed to my lovely hammock to begin a day of unadulterated me time, reading, sipping tea, dunking biscuits, listening to music, watching shite tv and genuinely relishing the opportunity to spend a day indulging in extreme hammocking.
Roll on next weekend and whatever hammock related antics it may bring I say.