It’s the miracle on Sivutha Boulevard. For almost two years the road that sweeps into downtown Siem Reap from the airport has been under construction. For almost two years it’s been in a state of disrepair ranging from bad to chronic; a potholed nightmare, causing travellers to choke on swirling clouds of dust.
At times the roadworks seem tantalisingly close to completion, but then the entire strip is dug up again. This process has been repeated several times over.
Then came the aftermath of Cyclone Ketsana in late December, which totally destroyed the boulevard.
That’s the way it remained until last week when a massive works programme swung into place, transforming the road into a modern asphalted wonder virtually overnight, complete with yellow lines down the middle for motorists to ignore.
The work was so fast and efficient that it’s caused a spate of rumours among the Khmer community. The most common rumour is that the new boulevard is the result of Thaksin Shinawatra’s brief visit, and some tuk-tuk drivers are now calling it Thaksin Shinawatra Road.
More probable is the other rumour that says the roadwork was completed so rapidly due to a forceful Hun Sen edict.
SEEN IN THE REAP
A six-person delegation from Vietnam visited Siem Reap last weekend to highlight the golf tourism potential in town and to discuss golf packages for the Vietnamese market.
The delegation, hosted by Angkor Golf Resort, included Nguyen Phong, director of ATC Travel; Trinh Ngoc Thanh, CEO of Cambodia Angkor Air; Dr Dunog Thanh, general secretary of the Saigon Golf Association; Nguyen Tan Le, general secretary; and Bui The Hung, vice chairman of Rach Chiec Golf Association.
Several Swiss journalists were also in town for a family trip.
Meanwhile, a face much missed around town in recent weeks has been that of Geraldine Cox, from Sunrise Village. She has endured a “completely unexpected” battle with breast cancer, resulting in a double mastectomy in Australia. She’s tipped to return to the Kingdom of Wonder in mid-December.