The Andamans (photos)
Travels in India, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia
Cyril and I were in the same primary school class and both went to Portmarnock community school. After we left school our paths didn’t cross for several years, until august 2000, when we met one Friday night in Gibneys. We talked all night about what we had been doing with our lives and generally had a great laugh.
Cyril, with his wonderful spontaneity which I grew to know and love, then proposed for me to go to Galway with him the next morning to visit his granny. How could I refuse such an offer when it was delivered with such a cheeky smile. So the next morning he collected me and off we went to Galway for the weekend. That was how Cyril and I started our relationship, with fun and spontaneity, elements that were never lost.
A year later, we set off together to travel through India, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia. We had many funny and tender moments on our travels, and one thing that always struck me was how people were drawn to Cyril, his humour, expressions, sense of fun and even his moments of seriousness. People were always attracted to his expressions, mannerisms and his smile, which started in his mouth and ended up in his eyes, in either a mad wide-eyed smile or a twinkly one.
One thing for sure was that the Indian people loved him and definitely were drawn to him!! We had lost our credit cards in a dusty town and had no money until new ones could be sent to us, so for three days we were essentially adopted by this town, we were invited to family homes where we were fed and learnt about cricket!! We were supplied with beer, board and more food by our guesthouse, even the man in the local phone shop let us make dozens of calls to sort out our bankcards (in exchange for some of the Cyril-special conversations!!). India looked after us and this was surely the start of Cyril’s love for the country.
There were many other moments that stick out in my min: bungee jumping (see Gallery 4), parasailing , the camel safari, Cyril getting his hot shaves in India (he loved those!!) the 48 hour train journey to Calcutta where we almost lost our minds to the madness and cabin fever!!, that Christmas in Calcutta where we booked into a fancy hotel resort called the polo club, and Cyril hid the xmas presents around our room for a ‘treasure hunt’, then later we spent the day sunbathing by the freezing cold swimming pool!!! As Cyril said “ah, the serenity”; a freezing cold pool with Indian people looking at us like we were mad, he loved it really!!
around Thailand with Cyril was a very special and memorable time for me.
He introduced me to his family in Bangkok, who I am honoured to have met
and spent time with. Their openness, generosity and friendliness were
so apparent and I could see how proud Cyril was to be part of the Thai
culture and the influence of the Thai culture was evident in Cyril's nature.
When we visited the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, much to Cyril’s dismay, we only had disposable cameras. He laughed about this fact, but he definitely recognised the beauty of his surroundings and that only a proper camera could do justice to it. He had often spoken about his thoughts of working as a camera man, and I’m glad he followed up on this and explored photography, as he became a very gifted photographer as his photos show.
Cyril always recognised the beauty and the humour in everything, and his ways with words were unique. Only Cyril could coin the phrases he came up with, his phrases were always funny and showed his unique perspective. He used to call me Caitrionabum and roundhead, which of course at first made me mad but later laugh!! He even measure the ‘circumference of my head’ to show its perfect roundness, something only Cyril could do.
“Positive things happen to positive people”
For me this phrase is special not just because it points out how our outlook on life influences us but because it reminds me of Cyril and his way of looking at life too.
The Cyril Duncan Siam Children's Foundation is a Registered Charity in Ireland
Cyril Duncan Siam Children's Foundation