JUNE 2002: PHNOM PENH TO BANGKOK
|Michael arrived in Phnom Penh and headed south to the coast for some R & R around the port city of Kampong Saom (formerly Sihanoukville) prior to meeting up with his brother, Peter and his then girlfriend, Kristina. Peter has provided the following exchange of emails between them that took place before they met . . .
Peter (email to Michael 6 Jun 02): Hold on Mikey! The Pete and Krissy Happy Tour is on its way to Cambodia! Tour dates are expected to be 9th in Angkor Wat, maybe beaches after that. Where are you, can you make it up to Angkor then? We're in Bangkok now, planning to leave the day after tomorrow.
Michael (email to Peter 7 Jun 02): Alright baby!! Well, I'm back in Phlem Penis after 4 days down in Sihanoukville. I'll hop on a boat tomorrow (quickest and coolest way to Siem Reap) and then hopefully hook up with the ol' Happy Tour on the 9th, in Siem Reap! I'll let you know where I'm staying. You bring the Iced Vo-Vo's and I'll bring the Fanta and together we'll rock this town.
Peter (email to Michael 8 Jun 02): Swoit mate! We're on a mini bus that should be arriving sometime around 5ish tomorrow arvo - let us know where you're staying and we'll make sure we stay on the other side of town to escape your smell.
Michael (email to Peter 9 Jun 02): Guys, I can't get to Siem Reap today but should be there tomorrow arvo at the latest. So, where are you staying, and I'll come find ye's. I hope your trip was not too ass spanky, I think mine will be. So, just remember to watch out for the foul mouthed speckled barking frog that lurketh in the jungles spitting profanities, and has been known to humiliate the unwary, unworthy traveller.
In the meantime, a brief message from Michael to his parents . . .
Michael (email 7 Jun 02): Hey guys, I'm back in Phnom Penh after spending 4 days at a beach town down south. Having a great time. Hopefully hook up with Petey soon. Ta ta, M.
Peter and Kristina soon got together with Michael. They then travelled by bus together to the ruined temples of Ankhor Wat. There they hired motor cycles and explored the area, taking many photographs and having a fabulous time, with many convivial evenings, and they met other travellers there as well. They phoned their parents from Angkor Wat and had a long conversation with them. At the same time Michael's papers for his ashram course in Pondicherry arrived at the family home in Sydney.
Michael (email 12 Jun 02): Guys, could you maybe scan the sheet that was sent to you from the ashram and then e-mail it to me. Thanks. Good speaking to you both today, all is good but I must sleep now . . . very tired!
Peter and Krissy then bade farewell to Michael and headed back to Phnom Penh to resume their travels, heading for China. Michael in the meantime had not forgotten his longer term goals and now made advance arrangements for his ashram course later in the year.
Michael (email 15 Jun 02): Thanks guys. OK, you can probably guess what I'd like you to do next! Could you take $800 US out of my savings account, and then send a bank draft for that amount to ICYER along with the following letter (dated and addressed, etc):
Dear Amma, I hope all is well at the ashram. Thank you once again for the information. Please find enclosed $800 as initial payment for the Residential Course. I agree to the conditions of the Residential Course as outlined in the information you have sent me, and I intend to devote myself to it once it begins. I am studying the correspondence course and I think I will have it finished by October 2nd. Thank you once again. Yours sincerely, Michael Danckwerts
Thanks guys. Well, Pete and Krissy caught a bus back to Phnom Penh this morning. I'm gonna stick around for a couple more days before I head to Thailand to meet up with a friend. We had a magical 4 days cruising around on motorbikes seeing these fantastic ruined temples of Angkor. Probably the best I have seen on my travels. Love, M.
Michael said no more about his time at Angkor Wat with Peter and Krissy. Peter for his part was not much more forthcoming . . .
Peter (email 15 Jun 02): We're in Phnom Penh now, said goodbye to Mikey yesterday. It was great to catch up with him, he hasn't changed a smidge you'll be happy (sad?!) to know! Except he's picked up an American accent somehow, but we managed to get him back to speaking Strine after 5 days with us. Oh, he's also shaved off the goatee and has longer hair. We had a great time, the temples and ruins of Angkor are prima, even better than we had hoped. We've taken lots of photos so we'll send them soonish . . .
In response to his mother's anxious queries Peter was reassuring . . .
Peter (email 18 Jun 02): Mikey really is OK, Mum! He's not too skinny, looking quite healthy with long flowing locks! He really loved teaching the kindy kids in Taiwan and is looking forward to his yoga course. Hopefully he'll stick to it - he didn't seem to be interested in yoga while we were there.
Peter recalled some more highlights during his address at Michael's celebration service in November of that year . . .
Peter (ceremony address, 15 Nov 02): Krissy and I were so lucky to have spent some time with Mike in Cambodia earlier this year. It was such a joyous reunion after a year apart, with the ruins of Angkor Wat providing an amazing backdrop. And he was still the big brother looking out for me. When I expressed a slight hesitation in piloting a clapped out old scooter through the chaotic streets of Siem Riep he said "No worries!" and piled me and Krissy on the back of his. I'm sure the locals are still laughing and shaking their heads at the sight of three large white folk weaving through the streets on a scooter designed for one small Cambodian.
He had some good laughs at my expense too. The very next day he offered to give me a motorbike lesson, so we would be a bit more comfortable on two scooters. After dropping me off at the shop this lesson consisted of Mike patting me on the back and yelling over his shoulder as he sped off: "You'll be right - just remember to lean in the corners!".
Michael and Peter took many excellent photographs of their time together in Angkpr Wat. Click here to view these.
Michael travelled on to Thailand, and his next email came two weeks later from one of the resort islands near Bangkok.
Michael (email 28 Jun 01): Leaving Ko Chang today for Bangkok. Not sure where I'll be after that. Thanks for the banking for me. M.
Photos Michael's and Peter's photos of Angkor Wat
Photos Michael's photos of Thailand
July 2002 Bangkok to Rishikesh