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Sunday 6 December 2009

It's Lake Fish Sir.

Whilst watching a video this morning by one of my favourite YouTubers, Margaret Fabrizio, who goes by the name "atree3", i was reminded of a story.

Margaret's video was one of a series she has posted about her recent trip to Vietnam.
This is the video:

Apart from the story, which will probably not make a lot of sense unless you've watched that video, especially the ending. This series of videos has also brought back many happy memories to me of past holidays, especially those holidays to more distant lands.

My story took place in Sri Lanka, which i was lucky enough to visit with some friends, way back in 1982. Just before the ethnic violence between the Sinhalese & Tamils started.

We were in a place called Pollunaruwa, an ancient city of temples & statues of the Buddha. My friend Keith & i were sitting in a restuarant by a big lake. Whilst perusing the menu, we noticed that they had fish on there.
So, we asked the waiter what kind of fish it was:
"It's lake fish sir",
"Yes, we know it comes from the lake, but what kind of fish is it?",
"It's lake fish sir"
"Yes, we understand that, but what is the actual fish called?",
"It's lake fish sir"
It was at this point that we admitted defeat!

Now, this might not seem like a particularly amusing story & it may indeed be one of those cases where you just had to be there? But, it brought all of those memories flooding back to me.

I have been lucky enough to travel to some wonderful countries. Countries such as Sri Lanka, India & Egypt. And in each of them i have travelled in an unscheduled manner, basically backpacking i suppose.
But, the common thing that keeps those memories fresh in my mind, is the fact that for each of those holidays, i kept a travel diary. All of which i still have.
In fact, after watching Margaret's video this morning & thinking of that lake fish story, i have gone back & re-read my diary about that Sri Lankan trip.

Although, i took many, many photo's during those trips. There is nothing quite the same as reading a travel diary that was actually written at the time. Especially when viewed with those photographs. It really brings them back to life.
Try as we might, we can never remember everything that happens, or that we experience. But, every time i re-read those diaries, i am transported right back to the day that i wrote them.
The sights, sounds & smells seem to jump right out of the pages. In fact some of the pages still have the original stains on them!

I'm not sure that that would ever happen again in quite the same way?
These days, we all go on our holidays armed to the teeth with technology. Whether that be a mobile/cell phone, digital camera, laptop, or video camera. There is no excuse, or any need to miss a thing.

Indeed, that is exactly what Margaret's videos have proven. She now has her exchange with that Vietnamese man all about tea, in digital form. She even has the ability to upload it to the Internet & let the rest of us experience that memory with her.
I have done the same thing myself, on more recent holidays to Spain & the USA.

In the past, our memories have only really lived on in our brains, on celluloid film, or on fragile paper. Now, those memories can be recorded digitally, edited & stored on the Internet for all to see, for eternity.

Just like an elephant, we will never forget (even if we want to)


  1. Kind of a "Who's on first" situation there with the fish, eh? But, more important, was it tasty?

  2. I seem to remember that it was tasty, yes. That bit isn't in the diary, would you believe?
    Funnily enough i've just been out for a run & was thinking about this again.
    There may well be another blog to come out of this yet.