Never too far away

by Pamela Sherpa

Towards the end of last football season, my daughter, Tashi, feared that stress was adversely affecting me. She suggested that I should go on a relaxing holiday and get away from the frustration of sport.  What a good idea ! We planned to meet in Cambodia in January after she had been to Nepal to visit relatives.  A change of scenery was something to look forward to.

India’s effort in the cricket had been disappointing, the series one sided and Tendulkar as yet unable to clinch his century, so I looked forward to getting away.

Travelling lightly was easy as the temperature  in Cambodia is warm at this time of year despite it being the cool season. A pile of books including the Almanac, my biggest book, filled up half my luggage space. I left it til last to read – to get me into coming home mode, then deposited it on the bookshelf at the aptly named Coolabah Hotel in Sihanoukville- a seaside holiday town .

How times have changed for travellers. When I first went overseas in the early 80′,s, going away meant having no direct communication with home apart from a reverse charge phone call every few months to let my parents know I was still in existence. I recall being in Nepal and Tibet and not hearing about the space shuttle explosion til 6 months after it happened .

These days internet connection  is available almost everywhere-including bamboo huts on the beach in Cambodia. It’s easy to keep up with the sports scores and news.
A picture of a sensationally fit looking Nathan Ablett warmed my heart. ‘Go for it kid ! I hope you make it back to the big time and that someone kicks the ball to you when you’re free, so you’re not left wandering round the forward line like a lost sheep!’
The women  tennis shriekers make the news. I chuckle to myself, having written a song parody about Maria’s grunting, that was sung on the radio a few years ago..

The Australian Open tennis is on the TV  via the Star sports channel.  With the 4 hour time delay, it’s comfortable late afternoon viewing on return from the beach. Most guest house rooms have TV’s  in them. As well there are bars and cafes with sports action on their big screens. British tourists are prolific here and they are well catered for with the soccer matches from England shown in the hotels.

For up to date  world news it’s CNN and the BBC channels.

The manager of the Big Easy bar in Sihanoukvulle is Australian. He wears his cap backwards Lleyton Hewitt style and informs me that he lives just up the road from him in Sydney. One set into the Hewitt- Djokovic match he declares there will be free drinks if Lleyton wins.

We spend  a few days out of town at a small beach settlement where there is no TV, so I miss the Nadal -Federer match, but some seaside shacks have WiFi so  I can check the result via Tashi’s iPhone. She continues to show me the wonders of an iPhone, which I don’t mind at all when I want to check the scores from the Adelaide Test. She can’t believe my shocked reaction when I exclaim that Shaun Marsh has made a duck. Oh my gosh! Tashi has no interest in cricket so I then have to explain what a duck is and the ramifications of it. India are still struggling and Tendulkar still doesn’t have his ton.
So it’s back to swimming in the flat ocean of the South China Sea.  Conveniently, we head back into town for the Men’s final. And what an epic match it was.

The test series may be over but the cricket goes on of course.  I check the T20 score and am surprised to discover that Shaun Marsh is playing, and has made another duck!

Holiday time is over. On arriving home, I turn on the TV and tune in to the One day cricket match in Melbourne. Tendulkar goes out for 2 ! Oh no, not again! I decide to turn off the TV and promise myself not to get stressed about anything – until the footy season arrives that is.


  1. Hi Pamela
    Sounds like a wonferful trip. I remeber being in the US pre internet and trying to get the footie scores was harder than sighting the Loch Ness Monster

  2. Mark Doyle says

    Pamela, Did you have a relaxing holiday? It seems that you might have stressed a wee bit over chasing sports results on the electronic gismos. I personally find life more relaxing when I do not have access to any media gismo when travelling overseas or bushwalking and sleeping in a swag under the stars. When travelling I do not use the mobile phone and pack it in the bottom of my rucksack. My experience has been that travelling and meeting new people is fun and a full time occupation; there is no time to think about sports results or news from home. I am always bemused when people either ring home for sports results or continually get frustrated when they cannot get mobile phone or internet connection to their home country. However, I do have to plead guilty as a Geelong supporter of watching the last quarter of last year’s grand final on TV in a hotel room in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, but a Geelong grand final is probably the only sports event that I would make an effort to either watch on TV or listen on the radio.
    I have often wondered about your surname on this website and whether you might have a Sherpa/Nepalese background. It seems that you might! I had a great holiday in Nepal a few years back which included 2 weeks trekking in the Himalayas. The Sherpa people were very hospitable, friendly and generous people in the villages and especially our Sherpa porters who were invaluable as this trekking was tough going when the oxygen level is approximately 65% at 3,000 metres and 50% at 5,000 metres. Katmandu is also a great city.

  3. pamela sherpa says

    Hi Mark , I used to like getting away from it all completely too- bushwalking etc but what struck me this time was that technology is such an integral part of life now- so many people sitting in cafes with laptops etc -and surprisingly, it didn’t bother me . It is nice to have the best of both worlds now . People on laptops or reading books -all much the same, just relaxing .
    I’m a country Vic girl but my husband is from Nepal . I spent a few years there in the 80’s and 90’s. cheers

  4. I MUST agree with Pamela here, Mark, and state I’m eternally grateful for wif-fi availability on the iPhone and similar gizmos.
    Last April we were in central Iran — either Esfehan or Shiraz, I forget — and Geelong had just played Hawthorn in an early round match.

    Clicked on the hotel destops and lo, and behold, A huge Iranian censor’s veil descended on the Herald-Sun and Age websites. Quick trot down the street and young blokes in the local Internet cafe said: “No worries, sir. We’ll fix it”. They clicked on promptly and I was able to savour another Cats’ win over the hated Squawks!

    In Nov. 2010 we left the laptop at home because we were on a small group trip up the Mekong River in Laos. Ended up in the beautifully, laid-back heritage city of Luang Prabang.
    We had wi-fi access there but as it was November no stress about Geelong or other AFL matters. But on return to Bangkok for a few days there, again used the down-the-street I’net cafes, in amongst hordes of teenaged Thai students doing their on-line things.
    Could check up on the Bendigo Addy website, Pamela, to see who was in and who was out of the local BFL clubs.

    After our youngest daughter was married on Koh Chang in sthn. Thailand in March 2008, 7 of we wedding guests [all Bendigonians] hired a mini-bus and drove across country from western Thailand to Phnom Penh. Crossing rivers on jam-packed ferries powered by what looked like 1950s diesel motors, and even driving [very gingerly] across 70% completed bridges were hilites! Trip took 11 1/2 hours.
    Didn’t get to Sihanoukville but mingled with heaps of Koreans and Japanese at Siem Reap. Meals at the foreign correspondents clubs’ in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh were excellent.

    BTW, Pamela, have started research on 1952 and 1962 BFL matters (that’s 6 and 5 decades, respectively, back from 2012) and can tell you the BFL’s Michelsen Medal was won by Kevin Curran (Sandhurst) in 1952 with 23 votes. Winner in 1962 was ruckman Ray Willett from Rochy with 30 votes.
    Willett was just 21 at the time.

    More BFL news coming your way — and the way of Rocket Rod Nguyen — as 2012 rolls on.

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