Collin's Online Dictionary defines 'writer's block' as 'a phenomenon involving temporary loss of ability to begin or continue writing, usually due to lack of inspiration or creativity and is a complete pain when you're trying to write a travel blog for Asia'
Let me begin by apologising for the complete lack of blog contributions by yours truly in recent weeks. Perhaps for anyone who has been regularly reading my on-line drivel, it does not seem all that long ago since I last wrote, however, for me it feels like an age
Time plays funny tricks on you when you don't constantly monitor the passing of days and weeks. Not having a regular schedule creates the illusion that things we did or places we visited only last week feel like months past. On any given day, if quizzed, I would struggle to answer correctly which day of the week it was and would fail miserably at establishing the date.
Nontheless, I am all too aware that the regularity of my (ever popular) blog entries has dwindled recently and I am convinced I have been suffering from my first case of the dreaded 'writer's block'.
During our time spent in South East Asia there was no shortage of potential material that at any other time would have caused me to sit down and write. However, nothing has really clicked recently and I began to feel swamped by half baked ideas that never really forfilled their potential. Some of these ideas are as follows.
Ever since Jana and I landed in Asia it has become apparent that we have completely lost our sense of balance. Neither of us can remember the last time we fell over in a sober state, yet during the past 6 weeks Jana has fallen down stairs, fallen off a bus and just this morning got knocked flat on her face by another pedestrian and I managed to trip over nothing in particular and fall prostrate in front of oncoming traffic.
Perhaps finding ourelves in a situation where we were suddenly much taller than the average local has afflicted us with a bizarre type of vertigo which has effected our sense of balance. Whatever the reason for this strange set of events, it may be worth considering heading elsewhere and surrounding ourselves with taller people for our own safety.
Another potential idea was the fact that we were, on several occassions, blatently lied to, particularly by taxi drivers in an attempt by them to dupe us for every penny they could.
When we had just stepped off the bus in Kuala Lumpur for the first time we needed to find an ATM and politely asked a taxi driver if there was one close. He informed us that the nearest ATM was 4 Km away and offered to take us there for a 'special price'. Being downtown as we were, I struggled to believe the nearest ATM was 4 km away and after walking 2 short blocks we had a choice of 3 banks and multiple ATMs to chose from.
On another occassion, in Bangkok, we were heading to a Buddist temple and when we were just across the street we were advised by a very friendly and smiley taxi driver that the temple was currently closed for prayer and would not re-open for 2 hours. He then kindly offered to take us on a city tour at a 'good price for good customer'. However, after further investigation we discovered that the temple was infact very much open with no evidence of anyone at prayer.
Beyond these, another potential source of inspiration may have been the multiple times we were rudely awoken at 4.30AM by the local muslim priest. The reason for this is the priest was calling us to morning prayer over his beefed up speaker system attached to the bell tower of his mosk. Without getting too deep into the topic of religion, I felt myself wondering why the whole city had to be woken up at such an ungodly hour so a select few could stumbled bleary eyed to prayer.
I have given this a little thought and I believe a better idea maybe to provide the faithful with an alarm clock so they can wake themselves up. Perhaps they could set up some type of mosk loyalty incentive scheme where after attending morning prayer ten times they are presented with a free alarm clock preprogrammed to chime at 4.30AM, much like the set up where I was given a free bible after I tormented the Sunday School ten times as a kid.
It seems funny to me now that any of these, and many other events like them, failed to convince me to pick up my pen and start writing. However, now that I am sat in Shanghai in the relative comfort of our 3 star hotel and as a proud member of an organised tour, I find myself to be more relaxed and able to focus my thoughts.
Travelling through Asia can be simply described as an experience, and by this I absolutely include the full spectrum of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Asia has many fantastic things to offer the willing traveller. Jana and I have visited the best beaches we've ever seen, spent time staying with remote mountain tribes, ridden on the backs of elephants, trekked through incredible jungles and eaten some of the best food we're ever likely to savour.
However, on the flipside it is sometimes hard to build up the courage just to step out of your hotel room knowing that by doing so you wil be subjecting yourself to being constantly harrassed by taxi drivers, massage parlours, beggers and suit taylors. You are also constantly aware of the danger that you may be pick pocketed and you never know if the next inhilation of air will bring with it the sweet smell of cooking or the stomach wrenching odor of open sewers.
Our time here has been as equally a challenge as it has been rewarding and we have walked a fine line between frustration and euphoria.
I believe it is this mixture of feelings that has prevented me from writing any new blog entries recently but as a certain level of clarity settles in my head I believe I would not change a single thing about our time here and I am truely amazed that we are getting to do this incredible thing. We also both agree that our experiences so far have made us appreciate a little more just how good we have got it back home.
Anyway, that's all for now and in the meantime I need to go find out what date it is because i'm a little concerned that we may have a flight to catch today. Until next time...