Friday, November 16, 2007

In every dream home a heartache

Back from our second trip this year to Cambodia, again to Siem Reap, home of the wondrous weirdness that is the temples of Angkor. I had a brief "aaah-this-is-the-life" moment, thinking how delightful it would be to spend my life strolling between ABC stout at The Warehouse and palm wine at the Grand Cafe, with occasional detours to the neo-apocalyptic landscape that is Ta Phrom, a place that adds new levels of meaning to the phrase 'urban jungle'.

But of course that would be Ta Phrom without hordes of doughy Austrian tourists; and Siem Reap without the aching poverty. And I realised what I really want is an amalgam of places: not just Ta Phrom, but the best chunks of Barcelona and Hong Kong, leading onto the more interesting sidestreets of New York and Edinburgh and Tokyo and Montreal and Rhodes; with Niagara Falls and the North York Moors and the Pyramids a gentle stroll away. And a really good Lebanese restaurant and about 143 fabulous bookshops and record shops and a branch of Muji as well. And free wi-fi, of course.

Which leads, I suppose, to a task for the weekend, or maybe a meme, or whatever. What would be your ideal location, concocted from all the fun bits of places you've visited, or even places you haven't? And don't worry that you're leaving out the bad bits. Think of it as a conceptual bespoke travel agent, with metaphysical overtones. Or something.

Normal service will resume next week, probably with a pompous rant about Japanese books and French films and Canadian pop music and stuff.

8 comments:

Annie said...

Oooh, Ta Phrom. Another to add to my list of places I'll probably never get to see.

Somewhere with brownstones from Greenwich Village, pavement cafés from Barcelona ( Plaza Virreina for preference, where I used to live and still miss) a street market from Hoi An in Vietnam, a beach from Skiathos, from Berlin the bars, and the street art, and the spirit; pizza parlours from Rome; locals from New Zealand (I’ve never been there but every Kiwi I’ve ever met has seemed very friendly, laid-back and sound.) And from places I’ve never been – the mad landscape of Iceland, and the culture of Japan, and the everything else of India. And the parks of London, of course. We have the best parks.

Jun Okumura said...

...hordes of doughy Austrian tourists...

Listen carefully; many of them are potato-starch Germans.

...not just Ta Phrom, but the best chunks of Barcelona and Hong Kong, leading onto ... and the North York Moors and the Pyramids a gentle stroll away. And a really good Lebanese restaurant and about 143 fabulous bookshops and record shops and a branch of Muji as well. And free wi-fi, of course.

I hear there are places in Las Vegas, looks something like that. Without the bookshops.

rivergirlie said...

what lovely homework - i was just thinking about this very idea the other day - i'll be back with a list!

Charles Frith said...

The Cambodian kids get a little less grubbier and a little more cheerful each year I've gone. Progress of sorts.

Ta Phrom as urban jungle. I like.

BiB said...

London, with a Thai climate (without any rainy seasons), populated by Finns, maybe with some Finnish lakes thrown in there somewhere, perhaps a Russian quarter, and the mountains of Iran, and, yes, Lebanese food, and endless prawns, with Spanish wine, and maybe a bit of unrest in a nearby province for the odd man in uniform to be milling about and... just everything. Oh. But what about the politics? Is it going to be a governmentless idealistic perfect anarchic heaven too? It had probably better be that. Oh, and residentially, the houses could look like Berlin.

dh said...

Just a question of time before the Cambodian kids get iPods.

Tim Footman said...

Sounds good Annie. And yes, to be fair, I should have included some London. The galleries and museums, maybe.

Yes, the Vegas scenario is problematic, Jun. You can end up with something like this, which thinks it's Asia pretending to be Venice, but is really Asia pretending to be Vegas pretending to be Venice.

Look forward to it, RG.

Charles/DH: And that's the other problem. We want 'untouched' authenticity, but that's often a euphemism for poverty.

You can keep your Thai climate, Bib. I prefer the rainy to the hot bits.

FirstNations said...

Crescent Lake Lodge in the middle of Silver Creek Falls park, the Oyster Creek Inn down at the bottom of the trail for dinner, the Multnomah County Library tucked away somewhere close and a hop back into 1977 to Hamburger Mary's. So I guess there has to be a red phone booth somewhere nearby too.

regionalist? me?