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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 16 December 2005

The Gecko: 16 December 2005

Could the person with mobile telephone number 012-948-529 who is sending around pornographic text messages please stop it.

** If you go to the Vietnamese embassy for a visa and find out that it is closed, don't fret. The Cambodian policeman in the booth out front says: "You want visa, no problem. I get for you."

** How prominent is Cambodia on the US Congressional radar screen? A high-level US Senate delegation recently visited Vietnam, China, Thailand and Cambodia. The delegation included Senators Gordon Smith, Robert Bennett, Jim Bunning, Kent Conrad, John Cornyn, Michael Crapo, Trent Lott, and Ron Wyden.

If you missed their visit to Phnom Penh, it's because it didn't happen. They could only manage a mini trip to Siem Reap to see the temples at Angkor and do some Christmas shopping.

Diplomatic, government, and garment industry noses were bent out of shape all over the capital, with officials scrambling to get up to Siem Reap to see if they could squeeze a few minutes from the US Senators' shopping schedules to discuss issues of import.

** The third time's the charm - or is it? The twice-repaired embankment in front of the Riverside Café along the Tonle Sap is collapsing again. Ouch!

** Congratulations to former Singaporean Ambassador to Cambodia Verghese Mathews, who was recently appointed Ambassador to Bangladesh.

** If you like time travel and want to visit the 21st century, figure out a way to get a tour of the new US Embassy that just opened this month.

The $60 million complex includes a $70,000 sound system that can run five different sound tracks at once in different parts of the building; a fitness center with 12 exercise machines and separate showers for men and women; waterless, eco-friendly urinals in the men's rooms that have all the male staff scratching their heads; and, a state-of-the-art press conference room.

Five million pounds of marble were imported for use in constructing the embassy. Mum's the word on the number of security alarms. The Consular section will expand from three windows (in the old embassy) to eight, and treks to Bangkok for visa interviews are expected to become a thing of the past.

There are still a few wrinkles that need to be ironed out. Two sets of palm trees have been planted in front of the building at the entrance. Both died.

The four-storey atrium in the middle is set to host all kinds of events so start angling for an invite.



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