I kind of like Air Asia. There’s something about the fact that the airplanes are all brand spanking new that comforts me. None of this 20 or 30 year old nonsense that you may find at other more established but ailing airlines. I haven’t always been so generous with my words of the “Now everyone can fly” big fat bus in the sky airline. It still irritates that us lowly budget passengers are made to walk to and from the terminal. Surely walking across tarmac and giving way to 20 ton flying machines is a health and safety risk? As if what’s his face Tony would do the same time down with us proles, the real people on the dusty, smelly runway. On board I read the new in-flight ‘magazine’ thingy and was delighted to discover that Air Asia have just purchased their 1000th Airbus (or was that 10,000th?). Just as delightful were the testimonials from the poster cabin crew who are plastered all over the new planes- Amazing! Pity ours, as usual were not so amazing, in fact most of the time I can’t tell if those people are either She Mans or He Ras. Maybe both. Anyway, with new air buses and a youthful and relatively untarnished safety record (apart from that emergency landing at LCCT and that burst tyre in KK and….) I feel pretty good about Air Asia.

And the airplanes have so far gotten me to my preferred destination, safely which in this instance was Cambodia. The in-flight magazine commented that Phnom Penh was interesting but “not for the regular tourist”. I guess that’s kind of accurate, but then it must be a perspective thing. I suppose for most Asian or Malaysian travellers, visiting other parts of Asia was not really on the itinerary until recently. Why visit your own backyard? Until travel was cheaper and the idea of backpacking and budget travel slowly seeping into the Asian culture, I can’t imagine and don’t remember seeing that many Asian tourists in Asia, until now. Even now the majority of Asian tourists travel middle range to shopping meccas not flea markets like the white folk seem to enjoy. I mean, can you imagine the regular Malaysian donning a backpack and traipsing around the hot dusty countryside of say – Cambodia, where there are no luxury shopping malls or American fast food outlets to speak of.

Asians go to Europe! And Europeans come to Asia. So, I suppose to say that Phnom Penh is not for the average tourist then I suspect they are talking about an Asian one. Us whiteys are used to this total poverty stricken third world crap! Put us in any open air meat market and we won’t wretch or shield our eyes shamefully from bare chested natives bathing in the ditches. Give me hordes of homeless naked starving orphans and I will barely flinch. Modern genocide? Disgustingly corrupt political regimes? Pah! I’ve been there and bought the t-shirt. I even have the Hard Rock Cafe version.

And seriously, if the beer’s cold, the senorita’s cheap (or vice versa)and the locals ready to rip you off left, right, and centre, hey , that’s a regular holiday for a regular tourist, right? Welcome to my world.

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