The Gecko heard his first weather advisory recently: Watch out for high seas on the
Tonle Sap-probably every afternoon, especially during the rainy season. The advice
was picked up from two intrepid journalists who were headed to Siem Reap on-what
else-the story of a lifetime. Alas, they missed the scoop but now have another tale
After renting a boat at Kompong Chhnang the crack reporters and their three-man crew
were steaming serenely into the lake when a bit of a squall came up. Much to everyone's
surprise they soon found themselves facing an onslaught of rolling, five foot waves.
After a few too many breakers poured over the bow, the seafaring hacks might have
been muttering about "life jackets" as they stood knee-deep in Sap on a
A quick glance in the cabin only added to their chagrin as water began gushing in
through the floor boards.
The trusty captain veered hard to port and chugged for the shore, but the Tonle Sap,
as the journos now know, doesn't offer pristine beaches along its sides. Deep marsh
grass is more the norm, the kind that extends as far as the eye can see, without
a tree to hang on in sight.
Luckily the craft didn't sink. With some feverish bailing and makeshift repairs the
hapless lot beat a hasty retreat back to home base.
The Gecko has caught wind of other hazards in the neighborhood. One of the Fokkers
that come and go at Pochentong had one of its wheels "fall through" the
tarmac. See, its the rainy season and some times the water carries away the sand
A European lass ran into a bind with the telephone folks. She paid $1,500 for a phone
line but when the man she paid the money to passed away suddenly, so did her application
for a phone. She's now back to square one, minus $1,500.
Back to the airport. It seems some of those areas along the runway where the grass
hasn't been cut are minefields. Be careful where you walk.
There are a few fake U.S. $100 notes circulating, although a market exists for them
if you get stuck with one. The Gecko's heard that they can be sold for $60 to brokers
who then re-sell them in Thailand for $80.
Speaking of currency, one visiting expert has reported sightings of "Khmer Rouge"
bills from more than a decade ago. Perhaps he could use a quick review of Cambodian
The grenade that exploded in the New Market is keeping shoppers on their toes. While
the Gecko has heard six different versions of what actually took place, the key question
is how many other shoppers are afoot with explosives in their pockets.
On the more mundane side of life in Phnom Penh, the Gecko reports that the Electricity
Authority has been issuing notices to foreign consumers that they will now have to
pay for the juice in dollars only. No explanation given for the switch.