T he intrepid press corps was taken out to Koh Tang, site of the "Mayaguez
Incident" where the U.S. military has been digging for the remains of soldiers
who died there 20 years ago. The captain's log for 50-kilometer boat ride out from
Sihanoukville might have read as follows:
05:59: HMS 02 of the Ministry of Fisheries departed without incident, headed past
Koh Pos into waters with 5 foot, gently rolling swells. No white caps. Course set
at 240 degrees south-southwest. Speed ten knots.
06:38. Col. Chan Dy, who is escorting the journalists, loses breakfast over port
06:56. Freelance photographer Al Rockoff wretching violently off starboard bow.
06:58. Magnum photographer Phillip Jones Griffiths falls asleep in captain's quarters.
07:00. Associated Press and Voice of America reporter Som Satana ghastly sick
over starboard beam. Looking a bit green.
07:11. Cambodia Daily photo-grapher David Van der Veen dry heaves over starboard
aft. Never seen a white man look so white.
07:12. Reuters reporter Seng Kim Sieng tosses cookies over starboard beam. Remains
there, looking grim, for 40 minutes.
07:50. Rockoff back to starboard bow. Skin looks greyish.
08:00. Most of HMS 02 crew sleeping comfortably in hammocks strung under aft deck
09:35. Approaching Koh Tang. Jones Griffiths wakes up, looking refreshed and rested.
09:42. Drop anchor at Koh Tang. Journalists trundle ashore, looking less than
eager for the story at hand.
Residents in Sihanoukville are wondering aloud: "Where's Ariston?" Eleven
months after the Kingdom's largest contract-to-date with a foreign investor was signed,
there's no rep office in town, no action on Naga Island and no sign of Ariston anywhere.
Except across from the entrance to the airport where a sign with paint chipping off
reads "Reception & Information Center, Donated by Ariston S.D.N.",
which stands in front of an unfinished building that is already starting to fall
Fielding's "The World's Most Dangerous Places" has downgraded Cambodia
from five stars to two. The shift was made after Cambodia-section author Wink Dulles
came back to reassess the country's security after the RGC protested at the initial
5-star rating for danger. A press statement quotes Dulles as saying after his recent
September visit: "Cambodia certainly isn't as dangerous as Bosnia, and is safer
than it was."