Man about town: 31 May 2013

Man about town: 31 May 2013

Tributes continue to flow internationally following the death of New Zealand adventurer David Allardice, dubbed as the “Kiwi Indiana Jones.”

Allardice, well known in Siem Reap, was regarded as an adventure tourism visionary and one of the founders of the Flight of the Gibbon zipline tourist attractions, which originated in Chiang Mai, Thailand and is now spreading through the region.

In February he secured the rights to build a zipline inside the Angkor Wat complex and his wife Louise Allardice told Fairfax News NZ on May 7 that this made him “The first person in history allowed to set up a commercial operation in a Unesco world heritage site.”

In a farewell statement on its website, the Flight of the Gibbon organisation said, “David’s legacy will continue – already the government of Cambodia is planning to dedicate trees in his honor within the Angkor Wat Park in Siem Reap; where David designed one of the next Flagship FOTG courses.  Many more tributes and memorials will be announced over the next days.”

Allardice was diagnosed with terminal melanoma in January, and died in Bangkok on April 25, just days before he was to visit Siem Reap to check on work on the new zipline attractions, which is scheduled to open in August this year.

After his death in Bangkok, his body was taken to a Buddhist temple where he received an official interment.

His wife, Louise, told Fairfax News NZ that, “We had a police escort through peak traffic in downtown Bangkok, which had us all laughing, it was so David.”

His cremated remains were sent around the world globe in four urns. His ashes were scattered at sites memorizing his many and varied adventures, in Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. The fourth urn was returned to his home, the Allardice farm in Moutere, New Zealand. A farewell was held on that property on the weekend of May 11-12, and guests from throughout the world attended.

Siem Reap is playing host to Miss Belgium 2013, Noémie Happart, who arrived in town on Wednesday and hopes to visit Angkor Wat today.

Happart, a medical student, was crowned Miss Belgium on January 6, and this is her first visit to Cambodia.

On Sunday June 2, she will open a new school building and meet children from the Rong Vean village, Banteay Meanchey.

According to a press release Mrs Darline Devos, the president of the national Miss Belgium committee, donated $16,000  “through her representative, Noémie Happart,” for the construction of a school building in the Rong Vean village.”

The press release also says that Happart’s “dream” is to work with children, and the beauty queen was quoted as saying. “This is my first time to travel outside of Belgium and Europe. I am so exciting to be a part of this special project to help families from the Rong Vean village in Cambodia. My dream is to work with children. I love children.”

It was one of those purely ‘Only-in-Cambodia’ moments: Man About in full preparation for an evening function, was halfway through the pre-shower shaving ritual when, yep, the water supply abruptly cut out. With a face full of foam, Man About’s expletives echoed in the bathroom until interrupted by the pitter-patter of … rain.  Water, water everywhere, but none on tap. Then the brilliant light-bulb moment: donning swimming togs Man About ventured out into the street and with the aid of a small portable mirror finished shaving while at the same time undergoing the necessary ablutions  in the rain.

Then of course there was the day with no water and no electricity.

Cambodia, bring it on.


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