The Gecko hears that the campaign to loot UNTAC of all its property is now underway
and can be expected to continue for the next three months. Its rumored that three
UN vehicles per day are getting stolen. UNTAC has now ordered its troops to make
sure that they don't leave their weapons in their cars when parked at hotels around
town. No need to turn a simple car theft into an armed robbery.
Two officers enjoying a cool one at the Gecko club now know how sophisticated the
heists have become. With their jeep sitting across the street, they watched as one
crook went and deftly broke into their vehicle, told the night guard that he was
the driver for the troops in question and quietly drove away never to be seen again.
The thought of their sidearms in the back seat only added to their chagrin.
Even UNTAC Admin guru Medili's car was stolen, his driver held up at gunpoint while
the crooks decided whether they should kill him or not.
Keep your eyes on those pre-fab buildings that the U.N. has put up all over the country
as they may have been built with a free-for-all giveaway in mind. One contractor
was heard to comment that they were only designed to be put up and not taken down.
The Gecko has learned about one of the best-kept secrets in Phnom Penh for those
with a sweet tooth. Check out the Pavlova desserts at the Oasis Restaurant. You'll
be back for more.
There's some great theatre at Pochentong these days. With all the UNTAC staff starting
to head home, Cambodia has become the world's largest re-exporter of karaoke players
(and rice cookers and VCRs and cassette players and you name it that can be plugged
into an electric socket). The airport
check-in counters are being assaulted daily by dozens of huge tin steamer trunks,
all stuffed with the latest in high-tech gadgetry, and with each trunk's owner frantically
pestering the staff to make sure the loot is properly marked for transhipment from
Bangkok to Manila, Dhaka, Delhi, Accra or other points around the globe.
If you're planning on travelling make sure you book your ticket early as most flights
are jammed to the gills. One Russian UNMO only managed to get on a flight after cajoling
a fellow countryman pilot in the native speak that he didn't mind standing up all
the way to Bangkok.
The list of failed eateries grows longer day by day. Ciao Bello bit the dust months
ago as did the San Mig Pub and L'Ineptsie. Add Le Bar to the list. Anyone know whatever
happened to that no name Malaysian restaurant on St. 118?
Remember the Boxer Rebellion. The residents at Kiwi House won't forget it. Last week
an undisclosed number of female assailants engaged in a midnight raid on the Kiwi
hangout. While they took no prisoners they did liberate a few souvenirs: four pairs
of shorts; one with red devils on them, two regulars and a fourth pair that was overdue
for retirement. Rumor has it that the Kiwis were well aware of the impending attack.
One pair of U-trou had a phone number stencilled on it with a note "Try calling
during regular office hours."
The team of German doctors at the field hospital has been rotated home with a new
batch in town ready to tackle any assignment. However some jobs are leaving the doctors
shaking their heads. The guy in the "Dermatology" section has been kept
busy. After only three days in country he had tended to 167 cases of VD.
The UNTAC jail is finally ready and open for business, and the Ghanaians, after refusing
to guard it, have agreed to man the gates. It cost $70,000 to construct and is supposed
to be so plush that criminals will be aching to get in. The lock-up is equipped with
washers and dryers so prisoners can tend to their own clothes once they figure out
that the machines are not some high-tech torture machine. One UNTAC official quipped
that maybe the UN will start arresting a few bad guys like the gent in Battambang
who tortures his inmates by lighting them on fire.