Monday, December 10, 2007

Pleasure & Pain

The few Cambodian words I know is "How are you?" or "Sok si bei tei?". But one of the most impt keyword to keep in your heart is "flexibei-tei" as things are fluid and often unpredictable. We arrived at PP airport only to be told that our hotel had car problems and was told to wait. They sent Mr Vannak, the Front Office Manager, to pick us in a taxi. 45 mins late, but no issue, we were not in hurry. Problem was we were 4 people and 7 pieces of luggage. Vannak came together with his driver in a 15yo Toyota Camry. Somehow he managed to fit everything into the small sedan with me sharing the front seat with him. What a wonderful experience for Dora, a first timer and her son Daryl, as they marvelled at the lawless traffic. He also showed us a video footage of the recent Dragon Boat tragedy where 5 Singaporeans drowned on his phone. The DVD is on sale! Sick.

The warm welcome we got at Asia Hotel more than made up. The staff recognized us, esp my son Jeremy (the biggest 12 yo they have ever seen) as we have come faithfully each year. The boxes we took for our Cambodian friends were gratefully received and they were so kind to book us our onward bus tickets and mobile phone cards.

The journey to Siem Reap turned out to be a real local Cambodian experience - and we were glad the long 6 hrs ended positively with Celia my wife picking us up at the bus station with the Auberge Mont Royal MPV. But they had somehow got the hotel rates wrong and overcharged us $5 per night. I was feeling pretty tired and put on a brave front. Sofia, the ever obliging front office manager upgraded us to the luxurious and spacious deluxe suite and we were grateful. See how important Flexibei-tei is?

This morning's early visit to the Angkor Temples was a photographer's dream with beautiful lighting and the magnificient Temples. 3rd time for me, but never tired. Problem was I got attacked by fiery red ants while on the ground for a low shot. The pics turned out great, but so did my stings! Riding around the temple grounds amongst elephants must surely be one of the highlights and as usual, the Carry Me attracted too many questions I could handle from admirers. One of them said, "Your life now very easy...". I smiled as I looked at the 3 red swellings on my left hand.

Tomorrow we leave for Battambang at 0600 for a 5 hour boat ride. Celia just smsed me to say very interesting floating villages but there is only one toilet stop. Help!

Pleasure and pain indeed.

1 comment:

PencilDot said...

good... no pics to show??
Maybe when you are back right?

Only one toilet... then try not to eat anything much loh. Less things go in, less things come out. :p