As part of our honeymoon, Mrs Canavan and I ventured to a place called Angkor Wat.
The travellers among you will know that this is a temple in Cambodia, recently voted the world’s number one must-see place.
Now this is almost certainly down to a lack of intelligence on my part, but when we visited I can’t say I was blown away.
That’s not to say I wasn’t impressed – clearly it’s quite something that a thousand years ago this place, mammoth in scale and with beautiful intricate carvings on the walls, was built.
But the number one attraction on planet Earth? I’m not so sure.
I mean whoever thinks that clearly hasn’t been to the Dog Collar Museum in Maidstone (I’m not making this up – it genuinely exists and houses a collection of canine collars from the Middle Ages; with all due respect to the proprietors, I suggest you only visit if you want to punish your child for a misdemeanour).
But back to Angkor Wat and how it didn’t thrill me – though in my defence, it is quite difficult to enjoy anything when there are several thousand tourists plodding about. These tourists appeared to be mainly Japanese people, shouting in very loud voices (the Japanese seem to specialise in this – maybe they all have extremely poor hearing), and all walked around, even the pensioners, brandishing selfie sticks.
They spend so much time fiddling with the damn things they don’t actually look at what it is they came to see in the first place. (‘We went to Angkor Wat today? Really? You should have said – I was too busy trying to get the perfect shot of my face”).
Angkor Wat is meant to be a place of calm, inspiration, peace and love. Which made what happened when we arrived – just after 5 am to catch the sunrise (every guide-book describes this as a must do, spectacular experience ... they’re lying) – rather amusing.
We sat down on a stone ledge along with about 10 others who had got there before us and waited – expectantly in their cases, absolutely knackered and nodding off in mine – for the sun to make an appearance.
Just after we had sat, an American man arrived and perched close by.
A Spanish girl in front of him span round, face so sour it looked as if she had just stuck her head in a bucket of lemons, and said: “Do you mind, that’s where I was going to put my camera.”
The American man, a tad taken aback, replied, without malice: “Oh, I’m sorry but it’s not exactly the kind of place where you can reserve your spot.”
Now whether she was sleep deprived or just bonkers I don’t know but without warning she snapped and screamed: “But I was here at 4.15 and I’ve had my camera waiting to take the best possible angle of the sunrise. You can’t spoil it by sitting there.”
Suddenly I was enjoying Angkor Wat. This was great fun and much more interesting than watching the sun slowly emerge behind what is, let’s face it, a pile of old bricks.
The American looked a little startled and a tad upset. “I’m very sorry,” he said, “but the seats are not reserved. I’ve travelled from Minnesota to see this and I’m not going to move just to give you a better picture.”
The Spanish girl picked up her rucksack in extravagant manner and bellowed dramatically “how can you be so selfish!”, before flouncing off’.
Just at that moment the sun began to rise. The guide books were right after all – this was a wonderful place to visit.
A lesson in love from a Chinese airport
Spare a thought for Alexander Pieter Cirk.
The 41-year-old from Holland hit the news this week after flying to China to meet a woman he had started talking to over the internet.
Unfortunately the woman didn’t turn up and Mr Cirk, so besotted and determined to see his online ladyfriend, refused to leave the airport and ended up spending 10 days sleeping on a chair in the terminal before being taken to hospital suffering physical exhaustion.
Now we’ve all had disappointments in life where love is concerned.
Why it seems like only yesterday since myself and Sandra Trimble – slightly buck teeth but a lovely personality – arranged to meet at KFC in Bury town centre. She was in my woodwork class at school and I’d first got the hots for her when she knocked up an absolutely superb free-standing wardrobe.
Anyway I sat in KFC, nibbling on a chicken wing, and waited two whole hours before realising, with crushing disappointment, that she wasn’t going to show. However, I didn’t refuse to leave the premises. I simply went home, watched Grange Hill, then went for a kickabout with my mates.
I feel sorry for Mr Cirk – after all, love can do funny things to a man – but perhaps it might have been more sensible to discreetly fly back home, rather than having the whole world read your story and open yourself up to much ridicule.