In this part of the world things happen that can only live if you're here
If I think the reason that tied me to Southeast Asia two images always come to mind: the shelf of my parents house and a Cambodian bus TV broadcasts in Khmer karaoke. Two situations that have nothing to do with each other but were vital for today can say that when I'm home to Asia.
The shelf remembers because when I was a brat playing the top was not tall enough to reach my father encyclopedia. I had to climb on a chair to catch my favorite volume always among many volumes.
That encyclopedia encyclopedias when occupied a significant space in the houses was the only way to get close to it was my childhood dream. While looking at the map of Asia I imagined myself walking those giant countries, discovering new places and visiting countless islands that they were so far from home.
It was my dream. And mainly it was because I was so far from being realized. My parents and I lived in a very modest home on the outskirts of Barcelona, Spain in that decade wearing little democracy. The only thing we could do was travel within the country in the Renault 4-four cans-that my father drove. And yet, while in that way made me dizzy and my mother had to give me vomit bags, I kept promising myself that one day I had to go to the Asian continent maps. Although I had to take a load of plastic bags.
Between the encyclopedia on the shelf and my discovery of Cambodian karaoke elapsed almost 25 years. By then he had already traveled much of the country in the New World during the holidays which gave me the newspaper in writing in Barcelona. But in my head it was about to drop everything and move to Asia.
So, a month after returning from Japan, I flew to China and then to Southeast Asia. A few days later, I was traveling in the Cambodian capital of Battambang along a road that sometimes became goat track. On the bus that took me there was no air conditioning, each traveler's luggage he carried in his seat and the smell was not the best. But nobody cared. Because what that bus did have was a video screen and good audio equipment.
After a while you start the journey started playing music at full blast. It was a local music video you could read-in Cambodia, of course, through the screen that had the cabin next to the bus, in a video clip of questionable quality. I realized that most of the members of that bus, in which the only guy I was round eyes, began to sing. The guy sitting next to me smiled and followed the rhythm of the music while humming the melody. Sometimes applauded.
Karaoke music that road can not stop throughout the trip. Even when the bus stopped in the middle of nowhere and jumped two women offering snacks. I looked at what snacks sold. Spiders and scorpions fried grilled. And when the bus continued its march, with karaoke and watching my fellow travelers spider legs ripped to lick then between songs, I knew the place was going to settle it would be China, as he had imagined. I would move to Southeast Asia. In this part of the world things happen that can only live if you're here.
Six months later, in January 2011, I settled into an apartment in Bangkok. Leave my apartment in the center of Barcelona that I had worked so hard to get a good job and one of the largest newspapers in Spain. Also my family and lifelong friends. But worth it. On one side of the apartment building where I began my adventure in Southeast Asia had one of the most luxurious shopping centers. On the other, the largest suburb of the Thai capital. That messy mixture that exists in order in this part of the world made up for all the change.
More than three years later, no regrets. This is the place you want to be. And I'm sure the child who climbed on a chair to take his father's encyclopedia and look at the map of Asia would be proud of it.
Luis Garrido-Julve is author of the blog: http://www.bangkokbizarro.com/