04/08/2010

August 4, 2010

Well today I feel awful, I have no energy at all and I simply feel low. I know i’m doing too much and its making me ill. The balance isn’t right at the moment, but there is just so much too do here.

I think Im going to have to take some time away from the school, I really don’t want too, but I need to go away and meditate for a while. I don’t feel as though i’m fulfilling my purpose right now and thats not a good thing for my soul.

I so annoyed that I feel like this, but I guess it is what it is. I just want to be on my own right now, with no noise at all, no people, nothing just alone with my thoughts for a while. And thats just too hard to do here as there are so many people.

I need some peace and quiet for a little while.


So on Saturday I decided to travel to Phnom Penh again, its not that I really want to be in the city, but PP has something that little bit special. I wanted to try to feel the pulse of the city a bit, get under the skin of it, so to speak. As a bonus I was also meeting Hanna and Annie, a couple of volunteers at SSF who where leaving Cambodia and starting their journey back to the UK.

I set off early(ish) Saturday morning (0700) and headed to national road number 4 to try and flag down a taxi / mini bus. I didn’t have to wait long.

I climbed onto the front seat of the mini bus, sat back and simply absorbed the experience. As we got closer to PP we had to make more frequent stops, no we weren’t dropping passengers off, it was more to do with, what could only be classed as impromptu road taxation by waiting police. The driver would hand me notes of money, we would pull over where directed, and I would hand the said notes out of the window, miraculously they disappeared and we where suddenly on our way again.

After numerous more stops, I decided to alight the minibus at a market place… Too be honest I had absolutely no idea where I was, but decided it was as good a place as any to have a wander around. I was stopped numerous times by people who pointed at my tattoos, occasionally people would take my arm and run their fingers over the ink. This didn’t bother me at all as it was all done with a smile and with genuine interest. It also broke the ice and allowed me to just sit and chat with people for a while… (albeit in my god awful khmer) but I think they appreciated me trying at least.


After wandering around a bit I decided I should go and find Hanna and Annie. I asked a scooter rider if he knew where the Sunday guest house was. He nodded furiously and we negotiated $1 for the trip. After riding around for about 20mins it was clear he had no idea at all of where he was going. We asked directions approximately 5 times before we finally found the guest house. My driver, clearly delighted with his feat of navigational expertise, attempted to demand $2 for this impromptu sight seeing tour, I handed him $1 and thanked him politely for the journey.

I checked into Fairyland Guest house, which was next door to Sunday, (If i had trouble finding the Sunday guest house, then there was now way they would understand Fairy) it was probably one of the pricier places i’ve stayed, at $13 with an air conditioned room. But the rooms where lovely and had a TV as well. ( I found this useful as I could listen to Khmer on the TV). The view was also pretty nice. If your interested in this guest house then its on street 141.

After a shower to cool down I went to meet Hanna and Annie, we headed to the end of the street for a cold drink then off to the Russian market. (ok i need to confess, i absolutely love the iced coffees over here, try it with the sweet milk. dteuk gork gaa-fay, just incase your interested).

The Russian market, like most markets is covered, because of this its hot, now when I say hot I mean its really hot… its like a sauna in there… I love it… your hot, your wet, you have the hustle and bustle of the market, the smells the noise, the chaos, what better way to start to peel away the layers of a city and get to grips with it…


After spending about an hour walking around the market, we decided to go and grab something to eat. I was still on the lookout for apple pie (I have a thing for trying apple pie in every country I go to, it brings back good memories of my gran’s cooking). We eventually found a place that seemed to fit the bill, however just my luck it had sold out of apple pie 😦 instead I was offered a sorry looking apricot crumble. I mean who puts apricots in a crumble?

I sat there for a while poking disappointedly at my unappealing apricot crumble, I would occasionally gaze out of the window and down onto the street below. I could sense that that is was going to start raining. (the air cools a little, you can smell the moisture in the air, its pretty refreshing).

As the rain started to fall I started thinking, maybe I was looking at this all the wrong way, maybe just maybe I had been presented with an opportunity. An opportunity to continue my quest in search of the elusive cambodian apple pie. Of course I wanted to find it a good apple pie here, but would I ever really find an apple pie that was as good as my gran’s baking? would I even want too? Maybe the ultimate goal is irrelevant, it could just be something to aim at. Whats important is the journey, having a reason to move in a direction, any direction at all. With that thought, I moved towards the cake counter and ordered a large piece of cheese cake.

After stuffing my face with cake and iced coffee, we decided it was too hot too continue wandering about, so decided to head back to the guest house to play a few games of cards (Switch and Shit Head, some of you will know these games).

Later that evening Hanna, Anni and I grabbed a tuc-tuc to the riverside and ate dinner. It was nice spending time with the girls, they had both dedicated time out of their lives to help complete strangers on the other side of the world. If I was wearing a hat I would take it off too them. They where now heading back to their homes in the UK and back to uni to finish their studies.

Later that night, it was maybe about 0330 – 0430 in the morning (now back at my room of course), I was laid on my bed with the lights out and the windows open allowing me to hear the city outside. Initially I could hear voices in the street below, followed by a woman singing. I have no idea what she was singing but the sound echoed through the ally-way below. I got up from my bed and stood at the window for a while, watching the street and listening. It was a beautiful thing, it was one of those experiences that cost absolutely nothing at all, yet made me appreciate and accept everything within the universe at that single moment in time….simply perfect.

I woke pretty early on Sunday, ok I woke at 0800, it was early enough. I wanted to purchase a couple of things, first off i needed a hard-drive for a server I was building at the school, I also needed another Khmer phrase book, and maybe if I had time I could look at and maybe price a scooter. This was going to be a bit of a mission so I decided to call my good friend Sovann (he’s a tuc-tuc driver and knows every where). He arrived at Fairlyland within 10 mins of me calling. I have no idea how he does it.

We managed to get a hard drive and a phrase book within about 30 mins. Ok may as well look at a couple of scooters then. 3 hours later I was riding my new 250cc XL Honda Degree through the streets of PP. Sovann being the kind soul that he is, refused to let me ride back to Kompong Speu alone, just incase I had any problems. He jumped on the back and we started the 1 hour journey back. Actually with me riding this bike it didn’t take that long at all. Sovann seemed a little worried, when I say seemed a little worried i probably mean screamed. However the noise of the engine suppressed his vocal projection of fear from disturbing my carefully developed riding style.

So there we have it, another weekend in PP, and now I have wheels to go and explore anywhere I like, who know where Im going to end up 🙂

peace & love dx


On Saturday Ryan and I decided to take a trip to Phnom Penh. We travelled from the Kampong Speu province of Cambodia, via TucTuc mini-bus into the city of Phnom Penh. It took approximately 1 hour on the crowded hot bus.

Our first mission was simple, FOOD!
Having no idea what to order, and not knowing the local language (Khmer), Ryan resorted to pointing to peoples plates. I decided to take a more tactful approach, I only wanted a vegetarian dish so proceeded to point at all of the meat and shake my head, then point at the vegetables and gave a thumbs up (international communications was always my strong point :-S )

After lunch we headed off to locate the Royal Palace.

In a lot of places in Cambodia you’re expected to remove your shoes when entering certain buildings, we did this before entering the palace. On leaving the palace we discovered Ryans flip-flops had gone missing, a similar pair had been left though. We assumed someone had obviously taken the wrong ones so Ryan did the only thing he could and slipped on the pair that where left. I didn’t really think too much of this and quickly went back to taking photos. Ryan following with his eyes scanning every persons feet like a slightly demented person, he was rambling on about his flip-flops the entire time. His work did however pay dividends and he was finally reunited with his flip-flops. I think it was a pretty traumatic experience for him.

After visiting the Palace we decided to jump into a Tuctuc and head over to S.21 the Genocide Museum. For $18 we hired our driver for the entire day, he wouldn’t take payment until the end of the day. He was a great driver and spoke excellent english (which came in pretty handy when we went to eat). Our driver was called Sovann Vorn, we discovered that he was training to be a tour guide. If you want to hire him then he is contactable via facebook, or email: sovann_tour@yahoo.com

(Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, the former security office 21 in “Democratic Kampuchea” was created on orders of Pol Pot (Sa lut Sor), In April 17, 1975. Office 21 was called S-21 and designed for detention, interrogation, inhumane torture, and the killing after confession from the detainees were received and documented.)

About S-21 Genocide Museum

I found this place to be extremely sad, the amount of innocent lives that where lost here was just awful. I don’t think my photos could ever really show the feeling that are experienced when visiting this place.

These beds where used to torture and murder the detainees at S-21 in the most inhumane way imaginable. Being in these rooms just felt uncomfortable, I sat for a little while alone in this room to connect with my emotions. Outside I could here people laughing and joking, I just couldn’t understand how anyone could have any sort of humour in this place.

Below is a photo I took of a display that was set up. Each prisoner at S21 was photographed. There where rooms filled with so many of these displays, some with women, some with men, others just children. Every one of them had the same look in their eyes, a look of complete emptiness.

After S-21 we went over to the Killing fields. (The Killing Fields were a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Vietnam War.

While walking around the Killing fields there where young children begging for money, I couldn’t give them money but I did give them my water.

Phnom Penh is a beautiful city with a lot going on, however a lot of people are simply trying to survive here. When you scratch the surface you can see the struggle the people have to endure, however they are still some of the friendliest people I have ever met.

wishing you all peace & love

Dx


23rd July 2010

July 23, 2010

So here I am in the Kampong Speu province of Cambodia, one of the poorest areas here. Today was pretty tough, i was suffering pretty badly from a combination of jet lag and heat exhaustion.

I know that this is my life now, I have absolutely nothing to loose though… The people here are very poor, they lack some of the basic things we take for granted. Its pretty hard to adjust as only a coupe of day ago I was in a 5 star hotel with air con, windows, room service and all of the things we take for granted.

One thing I have noticed in just the couple of days i’ve been here, the people always have a smile for you. I still have no doubts in my mind that this is the right thing to do, to change another humans quality of life for the better, is one of the most rewarding things one can do.

Wishing you all peace & love


Amsterdam 17 July 2010

July 17, 2010

So I’ve finally left my flat in Scotland, I have no real intentions of ever moving back there. I have no feelings about the place I just left, I will however always have emotions and feeling for my friends. I will never push these feeling aside, I will simply remember and smile to myself. (good times).

Right now I’m sat in my hotel room, a couple of my friends are here in Amsterdam as well. They’ve decided to head out for a wander, which means I can be alone with my thoughts. Its strange how we seek that place of solitary within ourselves, I do it more now than ever before, I spend the time in thought and at other times my mind is completely still.

I think ill just go and wander with my camera today, I enjoy wandering alone, not knowing where I’m going, or really where I’ve come from. Its through that solitary, that my connection to the world around me is realised.


peace & love

dx


Now

July 9, 2010

Ok well i’ve just had a bit of a rant to my best friend, not a bad rant a very positive one, so i’ve decided to share it….

I really wish I could share the feeling of having absolutely nothing unresolved in ones life.
Well thats how I feel…. my soul feels completely free. I don’t have yesterday, I’m not even sure of what tomorrow is, all I know for sure is right now. The only thing of any real worth is the moment right now.

Knowing this makes me smile 🙂

peace & love

dx


21/07/2010

June 21, 2010

Well my flights are all booked, and my leave date is set (16/07/10)… I’ve been spending the week completing DIY on my flat. Its been great, as my friends have all been over to help, and its been nice to spend time with them.

I guess the flat is the last thing tying me here, but the truth is it means nothing too me. I could quite happily just walk out and leave it, I’ve contemplated it a few times. The reason I haven’t though, is because I know that it doesn’t matter if I sell the flat or not, thats not whats important, whats important, is that I do everything I can to remove the physical ties to the life that I used to have. I wish to leave this society as a free human, to experience the world with an open mind, without prejudice, with love and compassion, to enable me to discover who I really am.

Its easy to follow others through life, too follow yourself is the real challenge.

Life is a breath, now i’m awake, I wish to fill my lungs.

peace & love

dx


Reality

June 17, 2010

I’ve been pondering the meaning of reality for some time now, try to think of a way I could articulate the way I perceive it.

Reality is the projection of consciousness viewing reality from a subjective perspective.

peace & love


Mixed feelings

June 16, 2010

So, all the flights are booked for a one way journey, my last day in the UK being the 16th July 2010.

Everything I love and know is here, yet I need to be away from it all. I really wish I understood why I feel like this, why I have to leave everything I know behind.

Its not even like its a difficult choice… All I can do is follow myself, where ever that leads me to.

It makes me feel sad when I think about all of the time I’ve wasted, wrapped up in my egotistical world, while others don’t even have fresh water, food or even get to feel love, compassion or just a bit of kindness.

I can’t say I’ve done anything significant in this world, I’ve done nothing to be proud of at all, but every day is another day to turn it all around.

I can only hope that one day my son will choose to find-out who his father was. If he does , then I hope that the actions I take now will speak louder than I ever could. We are not remembered for how we perceive ourselves, we are remembered by how we live our lives, in the actions we take, and in the memories of others. Life is never about self, its about selfless….. (I will always love you Ethan)

peace & love

dx


I’ve decided to share some moments from my life in the hope that by sharing it may help someone else.

Not too long ago I wrote some blog entries on facebook. I never posted them as I was simply keeping a mood diary. I had returned from Peru more peaceful than I had ever been in my life and then started at college studying photography, soon after starting the course I realised I wasn’t happy, and I started to relapse again. These are the entries I made during that time.

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Tuesday 05/01/2010
Dan Rivers 05 January

@00:27
Things are bad today
for me, nothing matters at all, i don’t want to be here. Not in this room, not in this town, not in the country not even on this planet. There is nothing I want from life, there is nothing that makes me happy. I am alone and I have always been alone.

I am going to try and write in this journal as much as possible, some sort of lasting memory, Even writing this is hard, I just don’t want to feel alone anymore.

@15:25
The down feeling are not as bad now, but i’ve had a lot of time to think. Im scared for what I have to do, i cant speak to anyone about this. People are going to call me a
coward, i don’t want to hurt my friends, but I cant live like this. I guess i’ve always known. Its hard to plan this when Im not down, I need to use simple logic and not get emotionally attached to what I need to do. 1 step at a time.

@23:03
Well i’m starting to feel normal again, I only managed to leave the house to get some food at 20:00. I finally turned my phone on. I spoke to my friend, I couldn’t help my emotions and broke down in tears. I had to hang up, I cant put my friends through this, its not fair on them or anyone.

I’ve slept so much, i’ve been sleeping since Monday lunchtime. Im going to go to the doctors tomorrow. Im so confused about what to do. This episode started days ago, and
i’m not even sure if its over yet. I try to hide it from my friends, most of the time I can and they don’t see it, but its so lonely.
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Wednesday 06/01/2010
Dan Rivers 06 January
@15:46
I went to the doctors
today, i’ve asked to be referred to a specialist at the priory who deals with bipolar disorder. My mood is completely different now, I feel fairly normal, with a certain level of peace. Its at these times that I think nothing is wrong with me, I feel stupid when I look at the other things I have written, its like it wasn’t me writing it, however I know it was and how real it felt at the time. When I read things back or see photos of me in one of my other states, I don’t recognise the writing or the person in the picture.

@18:48
Chatting to friends over facebook, I can feel my energy level’s rising and my thoughts getting faster. I need to slow my thoughts, breath, there is no rush. I need to keep my
peace.
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Thursday 07/01/2010
Dan Rivers07 January

@09:34
My mind was racing last night, I could hardly sleep, hundreds of thoughts and cant focus on any of them. I couldn’t even write my blog, i just wanted some peace. I still feel
ill, yet I know I need to exercise to try and remove some of this energy, arrrrrrrrrrrr i just want this to stop, I just want peace and calm in my life thats all, nothing more, just some internal peace for fuck sake.

@19:53
Well I went up to a friends today, we just sat about and he had a mix. I think he knew about the problems i’ve been having. Im trying to share with them, but I just don’t want to hurt them either. When I got back home my mind was all over the place again, its like a roller coaster in my mind, positive and negative thoughts jumping around. I finally started to look at my photos and art work again, my focus seems to be coming back. Another friend is going to come round tonight to watch a film. I’m so glad my friends arehere for me though. Im feeling pretty level right now, my thoughts are pretty stable, there is a little peace in my head again at last.

@21:52
How can I getup in the mornings when i have nothing I want out of life? I feel empty.

@23:46
I’ve just got into bed, i need to be up at 6 in the morning for college. My heart is racing, my thoughts are all over the place, constant chaos and energy, I can hear my heart thumping.
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Friday 08/01/2010
Dan Rivers08 January

@02:30
Still awake, not sure
if i’ve slept at all, don’t feel tired, i know a manic episode is on the way.

@02:40
My thoughts wont stop, I need to get these thoughts out so i can maybe sleep. The song Manic Depression keeps circling my head.

@06:36
Got out of bed at 6, was already awake, didn’t really sleep, it was like a half sleep, with images similar too dreaming but not quite. Thoughts of people trying to take me away, the emotions of fear, I could feel it deep inside of me. Every time I closed my eyes it was there. Just another day, just got to get through the chaos.
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Sunday 10/01/2010
Dan Rivers10 January

@10:02
Today i feel strange, irritable, I don’t know why, I was training again yesterday which took my mind off things. I feel as though I cant be bothered, there is no point doing things. I don’t know why I even get up in the mornings. Fuck fuck fuck, why is my head like this.
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Saturday 16/01/2010
Dan Rivers16 January

@ 01:14
I dont know where ive been the last few days, ive been in my head worrying about stuff. i need to let the world just happen and listen to my self.
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Tuesday 19/01/2010
Dan Rivers19 January

@ 23:16 I’ve been in bed for 3 days, I had a manic episode which lead to a night out. I finally left the house today to train for an hour. It didn’t really help. For 3 days all i’ve wanted to do is die. I cant speak to anyone about it as I really don’t want to hurt my friends. I hate living like this, I hate feeling like this all of the time.
I just don’t know how much more I can take. How can anything good come from this? I just feel so very alone and sad all of the time.

@14:30
Im still in bed, I cant lie like this anymore, i’ve had enough, you cant live without any purpose or wants in life. Hope is just an ideal, there is no hope. There is nothing worth living for, i’m not going to do this anymore.

@14:39
Things I need to
aquire:-
Plastic paint splash
sheet, probably x3
Duct Tape x 2
BBQ x2 large
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Thursday 21/01/2010
Dan Rivers21 January

@08:52
Today I go to the Priory clinic and get an assessment for bipolar disorder. I feel normal today, no high no low, just a normal day. I need to purchase a BBQ today, I have one but i don’t think one will be enough to fill the room. I’ve pretty much written my letter of good-by to people, it was very difficult, but I don’t want to do this while i’m down. I spent most of yesterday in tears thinking about the people who care about me. It doesn’t change anything though, I know Im selfish and a coward, Im responsible for my actions though, my choice.
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Now i’m stronger that I have every been, and wouldn’t change the past for anything, I feel thankful for the experience had, and the lessons learned. Every step in life is a step closer to our destination, just keep moving forward and never give up. Don’t be afraid to share how you feel because you are never alone.
peace & love
dx