Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Thursday, April 05, 2007 CAMBODIA

Jim was awake by 5 am and went downstairs to say goodbye to the first three of our group to head for home; their bus left at 5:30 am. By seven we were at breakfast, and then checked the Internet on the lobby computers before our bus left for the airport at 8:30 am. Seven of us are headed for five days in Cambodia. We stopped at the L’Hotel near the airport to leave our big pieces of luggage; we’ll stay there the last night of our trip before leaving for home from Hong Kong next week.

Arrived at the airport, checked in and found out that we all received passes to the China Airlines Hospitality Lounge. We were all surprised and delighted as we had an hour before the flight. Food, coffee and free wireless internet!

When we lined up for the boarding, Gene noticed that our tickets all said Dynasty Class and we had a separate line with the First Class passengers. Wow…we were all in Business Class! Big seats, individual screens, and when they served us drinks in stemware before the plane took off we knew we’d gone to heaven!

Our lunch was served with linens, crystal, real silverware, etc. etc. etc. What a meal…fit for a king and queen! Can you tell we’ve only been upgraded once in our lives! The meal ended with Haagen-Dazs ice cream. We lost one hour on our flight that took two and half hours of luxury….there was twenty-four of us with two attendants plus a steward in our section of the airplane.

Arrived in Bangkok and the fun began. We walked and walked and walked some more trying to find our connection. We were told that we were flying Bangkok Air to Cambodia. Stopping for directions only confused the issue…we went back and forth along a very long concourse several times before we finally figured it out when we were able to get a map instead of just verbal directions from an information booth. By this time Betty, who is 81 years young, was exhausted and we managed to hook a wheelchair attendant. We kept her in the wheelchair until she was loaded on the plane. We lost Betty and Howard between the check-in and the boarding area. The attendants who were pushing her wheelchair took them to the Airline Lounge area. We’d been told that we could go there but we’d all decided to go directly to the gate area. They showed up at the gate just before boarding; we were all concerned and Jim was walking the concourse looking for them for most of the hour that we waited. Gena checked at the counter and they assured her that if she was with airline attendants that they would have her at the gate before boarding; and they did.

Because of the wheelchair Betty and Howard were pre-boarded and had been given seats in the first row. We boarded the plane and found that Jim and I were at the very back of the plane and Gene, Gena and Christa were scattered in between. It was only an hour flight and went very fast; our meal was a boxed snack and yes, we were in Economy Class this time! We’re not sure why but who is to question the fact that we've discovered on our flight itinerary sheet that we are also going to fly from Bangkok back to Hong Kong on the Dynasty Flight again next week. We’re all eagerly anticipating being spoiled again by China Air.

We arrived an hour later than expected at 6:00 pm, our flight was delayed in Bangkok (we were happy about this as I’m not sure that we would have made the flight if it hadn't been delayed), and found our OAT Tour Guide, Samnang called Nang, was waiting for us outside of Customs to guide us to the bus and our driver by the name of Saron. We will be at the same hotel for the whole stay: Khemara Angkor Hotel in Siem Reap. It’s a very nice hotel with air conditioning and a very large and nicely appointed room. There is Internet access on two computers in the lobby for ten cents a minute. One nice thing is that we don’t have to change any money; they accept American Dollars as well as the local currency. But, it can not be old money or torn, we’ve been warned to check our change to make sure that we receive usable bills out on the street.

On the fifteen minute drive from the airport we saw many examples of why this is considered a “developing country”; but there are also many new large hotels as the tourist trade is expanding rapidly. We’re near the end of the dry season and it is very warm and humid during the day. The problem at night is misquotes; I think I’ll stay inside at night as much as possible. We did bring 100% deet lotion with us if we do go outside.

After a short briefing in the bar we headed to our rooms about 6:45 and came back downstairs for a wonderful dinner in the hotel at 7:15. For now I’m calling it a night at the alarm will go off early…we leave the hotel at 7:30 am for our morning tour.

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