Here I am about to go on a boat trip and stupidly I had not even considered we would do this. How I had imagined we would visit a floating village without a boat being involved, I do not know. But that’s me, say yes to things and think about it later.
Now I don’t particularly like boats. In fact I don’t particularly like water either. Well, obviously not all water. I don’t want you think I don’t shower. It’s more sea like water, the stuff that boats sail on, that have an adverse effect on me. I have a good reason for this sailing aversion. I can’t swim and any boat trip is seen as a possible drowning threat. The only boats I will go on and probably then kicking and screaming are those that tend to have lots of safety equipment such as lifeboats, life rafts, life jackets; you know all those safety things that have the word life attached to them. I want to live you see for quite a few more years. I know, maybe learning to swim might be a good idea. My attempts at swimming lessons are a whole other blog. Anyway, as usual I am digressing. Back to the boat, did I say boat? Oh, God, never has something looked less like a boat than this one and the sailor less like a sailor. I want to die…
‘Surely we aren’t getting on that,’ I say weakly.
Andrew’s face is enough to tell me we are. After all we have just paid thirty dollars to go on this and Andrew is determined to get his money’s worth. If that means I drown, so be it. Okay, he isn’t that bad. In Cambodia there are two words that just do not exist. Those two words are Health and Safety. This is not a nanny state, oh no. I am the first to disapprove of nanny States but God knows right at that moment I would have begged to be part of a nanny state. The boat is of medium size and is made up of planks of wood with lots of gaps between them. It seems to be cobbled together from bits of old car parts. The motor is an old car engine lashed to the stern; the rudder is controlled by two lengths of rope strapped around a steering wheel
‘Is everything okay?’
He nods. ‘Just a slight technical hitch.’
Oh, that’s okay then.
What! What! He points behind him and oh my God, there is water everywhere. Well of course there is water everywhere. What I mean is, it is everywhere it shouldn’t be. Like in our sodding boat. Oh someone please help. A slight technical problem? I’m going to drown and Andrew thinks it is a slight technical problem.
‘Please be serious, is everything okay? We will be okay won’t we? He knows what he’s doing doesn’t he?’
I get the ‘You are getting hysterical look’
‘I don’t know, but I presume so. He has stopped the engine.’
I look frantically around me. Must keep calm, must think of strategies for rescue. Look at the situation calmly. Okay, I am in Cambodia, in the middle of a deep-sea, with no other boats nearby and not another soul in sight, unless you count Andrew and the Captain. The Captain can’t speak English. There is no life raft, no life boat, no life jackets and I can’t swim. Oh God, soon there will be no life, No, no think positive. Think positive, why am I thinking this is somewhat impossible? The only thing I can see on the boat is water and a rickety chair. Deep breaths, deep breaths. I strain to see the nearest bank but there isn’t one. Check Blackberry. Yes, as I guessed, no signal. I’m going to drown in Cambodia and no one will know, well my family will. But no one else will. It’s not like I’m famous. I probably won’t even make the local paper. Oh, what a sad end. Oh, hang on what’s this? The Captain is strolling past me, fag in mouth, and carrying a car battery.
‘Ah,’ says Andrew. My lovely hubby has an irritating habit of saying Ah, and Mmm, a lot. I have come to know the meanings of these Ah’s and Mmm’s over the years and this is such a hopeful Ah that I allow myself a heavy sigh of relief.
‘What is he doing?’ I ask hopefully.
We both watch as the smiling Captain attaches something to the battery and sticks a hose into the water.
‘He’s draining the water out of the boat. Funny isn’t it?’
I beg to differ. I can see nothing to laugh about here unless you count my hysterical laugh as comical.
The boat continues to bob and the Captain gives us a thumbs up. Yes, well, this is not very good actually. After all we have paid for this. I could pay a lot less to go in a haunted house if I wanted to be scared to death. The water runs over my feet and I pull them up quickly. Visions of the water reaching my chin haunt me and I start humming to push the thoughts away. I lean over the boat to see the pump and feel my shoulders relax when I see the water pumping out nicely. Within minutes we are roaring through the deep waters and Captain eats his sandwiches while I dry swallow two painkillers and think that my nerves really cannot take much more. We dock with a bang and a thud and with Andrew and the Captain’s help, along with the rickety chair I disembark. Next step? I now need the toilet desperately. Be warned, that is the next blog…