Miss Wanderlust and i are going to Buddhist Hell. This is the place where our souls will be kept in constant torment for misdeeds in our former lifetimes.
All i can say, in our defence, is that we were awfully hot and dusty after that dirt bike ride, and the impromptu shower with the large washing bowl was entirely in order. What was perhaps entirely out of order were our antics with that golden reclining Buddha statue. But he looked so peaceful and happy, almost as if he were begging to be clambered upon.
And although i still believe the photograph has immense artistic merit, it will not be posted here.
I wrapped myself in a Buddhist robe to dry. It was hanging outside one of the monk's cave apartments - although there were no monks to be seen on this part of the mountain. Thank god for small mercies. However I now have it on good authority that we will come back as slugs to be trodden on accidentally by Buddhist monks.
On arrival at the foot of the mountain, before the climb and our well-earned shower, we lay about in a pagoda and chatted with the monks, the nuns, and some random villagers. Well, Miss W did. I just lay almost comatose on a straw mat on the cool tiled floor, resting my poor monkey arse after hours on a combination of dirt bike and Valium, while she chatted away like a native. The nuns then sang her a lovely, lilting Khmer song, and asked her to do the same. Which she did. And did it very well. My oh my, this Miss Wanderlust is a girl of many hidden talents. Although while we were showering, some were perhaps not so well hidden as others. But i digress.
Miss W then translated the villagers' request for me to sing them a number. I sat up and looked about, confused. Are these people insane? Do I look like a Cambodian jukebox? I'm recuperating here, for Buddha's sake. Can't you see i'm having a relapse? But they would not take no for an answer. Not having any Khmer love tunes at the forefront of my repertoire, i figured Mexican was about as close to Cambodian as i was likely to get. At least they are both north of the Equator. So i launched into Warren Zevon's Carmelita:
I hear the Mariachi static on my radio
and the tubes they glow in the dark
and i'm there with her in Ensenada
and i'm here in Echo Park
Oh Carmelita, hold me tighter,
i think i'm sinking down
and i'm all strung out on heroin
on the outskirts of town.
Which seemed as appropriate a song as any. Well, it was either that or the Ramones' I Wanna Be Sedated - but i didn't have my ukelele. The nuns seemed to like it, especially the part where i pawn my Smith Corona and go to meet my man, who hangs out down on Alvarado Street, at the Pioneer Chicken stand.
We climbed the mountain, and met some more nuns on the other side. Miss W somehow convinced them to make us soup.
And we ate it like the ravenous, lost, wandering souls that we are.