We agreed that he was beautiful. The young shaven monk, twenty years old at most, amber robed and with skin as smooth as silk, sat smiling contentedly at the ungainly Westerners ranged before him. Each of us would receive a blessing, when, in turn, we shuffled forward, place our palms together and bend in supplication. He acknowledged each ungainly wobble on knees no longer fit for purpose.
A short prayer in Khmer, for our knees, probably. A red band tied around our wrists to signify the blessing.
Six weeks later I still wear the band. My knees are holding out.
When we dripped from the bus the track was clear.
Two paper thin men lifted a pair of loose axles onto the rails. A bamboo board loaded with a boat motor rested between them. An axle hooked to the motor with a cam belt.
Warily, we scrambled aboard, settling to the middle.
Thin Man One yanked the starter cord and we lurched, grabbing handholds.
“Must get to the station before the real train comes”, shouted Thin Man Two above the din.
We hurtled along at ground level. I was ten years old again being fast, naughty and slightly dangerous.
If there's one place Alan Passey and his wife have fallen in love with it is India. But there's so much world to explore. Alan has become known for his cycling adventures, specifically cycling across Spain, and has received good reviews for his first travel book "Crossing Spain - wandering in the land of the bull".