Saturday, July 4, 2009

Andy shuns sun

In my spare bedroom I still have boxes full of crap from when I moved myself, lock, stock and barrel over to Cambodia a couple of years ago. I was searching for some videos that I need to convert to dvd format when I found a file of papers that included the following press cutting. As you can see the local daily newspaper was a bit starved for news stories and when they heard someone in their area had been to Cambodia, they thought it would make a news feature. The Cheltenham-based Gloucestershire Echo did a similar feature upon my return from my first trip in 1994. Going abroad was a big news story back then in Gloucestershire!

Andy shuns sun for Cambodia - by David Wilkes, The Gloucester Citizen, July 1997
Spain's a pain for adventurer

Holdays in Cambodia are Andy Brouwer's idea of heaven. But his wife Sue is not so keen on visiting the bandit-ridden country, which has been described as a danger zone by some travel experts. She prefers sunning herself in peaceful Mediterranean resorts to touring Cambodia, the scene of evil dictator Pol Pot's killing fields. But Andy can't get enough of the place and is currently planning his fourth trip there since 1994. His fascination with the country means the Quedgeley couple have not been on an overseas holiday together since their honeymoon a year ago. Andy (37) said: "Ordinary holidays are alright if you like sitting about in the sun, but I like to do something different. My wife's a bit sick of me going to Cambodia, and doesn't come with me. She prefers to go to places like Tenerife. At least it means we don't argue when we're abroad!"
Andy, an assistant manager in the mortgage department of the Cheltenham and Gloucester, has been interested in Cambodia since the late 1970s, when the genocide committed there first came to light. "I didn't go there until 1994 because it wouldn't have been safe. The first time I was there, my wife saw a tv announcement saying they didn't recommend foreigners come to the country as three had just been kidnapped," he said. "But it didn't put me off and I've been back twice since and I am planning to go back again next March. I know there are dangerous parts so I don't venture too far off the beaten track. It's an unusual country with some fantastic ancient monuments, and despite the troubles, the people are very welcoming." Sue said: " You could say he is obsessed with Cambodia. It looks very nice in his photos, but I'm afraid our tastes in holidays do differ, and the children are too young to take there art the moment. But one day I will probably go there."
Andy has been glued to American cable television recently watching the first footage of Pol Pot to emerge for years. The dictator was jailed for life by his old Khmer Rouge comrades earlier this week. Andy is also keen on setting up an informal discussion group of people interested in Cambodia. Contact him direct on 01452 721833.

Postscript: As it turned out my obsession grew and grew. My wife never made it over to Cambodia afterall, preferring resorts closer to home and in the Med. It was an obsession that we never shared and two years ago it took over completely when I left England to begin a new life here in Cambodia. I had made thirteen trips by the time I was ready to come and live here for keeps.

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