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23 November 2011 / leggypeggy

Our sometimes roommates—Marina and Phil

Phil and Marina check out an old Citroen in Luang Prabang in Laos. They resisted driving away in it.

As we travelled across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, we often stayed in hotels instead of camping. Those places almost always had rooms for three or four people, but never just two. That meant people had to share a room. On these occasions, Marina and Phil were our roomies. It worked so well. We woke up early, got showered and dressed, and were on our way at sparrow’s fart. They liked to sleep-in. At the other end of the day, we retired early and were conked out long before they got ‘home’. Too easy.

Marina and Phil are both retired, but it wouldn’t surprise me if either one of them went back to work if something interesting came up. They like to be busy. On our travels, they are the people most likely to be seen on hired bicycles or zooming along on a motorbike.

In a previous life, Phil was an engineer in the Royal Air Force, a job that had him travelling the world to make things work right. Everyone on the truck was grateful for his tinkering skills. He’s a whiz at splitting firewood into kindling, plus he fixed the inverter and other cigarette lighter chargers so we could keep our computers, iPods, and other electronic goodies powered up.

In preparing to come on this trip, Marina left her job in payroll. But more importantly, she had to make arrangements for Frank, the other man in her life, to be looked after during her absence. Frank is a handsome horse who is, no doubt, waiting for mum to get home to England.

When they return home—through New Zealand and most likely by way of the Trans-Siberian Railway—they hope to downsize on their living space and upsize on paddock and gardening space. Frank will be pleased.

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