Remember those happy days when you could drive to the airport from downtown in 15 minutes. Forget it! Bangkok-style
gridlock has arrived in Phnom Penh. One disgruntled traveler noted that it recently took one hour and 15 minutes
to make the trip from Pochentong to the city.
The Miss Cambodia contest is underway. The Gecko hears that, among numerous selection criteria, the soon-to-be-crowned
beauty queen must have a high pitched voice and no visible scars. One contestant from Stung Treng when asked why
she entered replied "So that people won't forget about Stung Treng."
If you ever listen to any of the UNTAC radio channels you may have noticed a distinct change in language, noticeably
more Khmer. The Gecko was told that the main reason for the shift is that a container load with 2,500 Motorolas
was stolen on its way to the port. All these are now in wide circulation along with those the Bulgarians used to
pay off their prostitutes.
A recent commuter to Sihanoukville reported that he was only stopped 15 times on the return trip to Phnom Penh
with tolls running at $30. His advice was "Make sure you stop," after one drunken soldier fired off a
burst from his AK when he tried to smile his way through one checkpoint.
Is working for the UN profitable? The Gecko hears that before his departure Eric Falt was given by a government
official a diamond-studded, gold Rolex watch valued at $15,000, which is about the equivalent of one month's salary
for 1,350 civil servants.
Concerned about "unfriendly" checkpoints around town? Watch out for the one at the bridge between Chamkar
Dong and Stoung Meanchey as some of the RKAF boys there have even taken to harassing the Australian Ambassador
in his well-marked, CD-plated car.
The Thai Ambassador is packing up. The Gecko hears that he is headed for a new posting in Mexico, via Bangkok,
on Nov. 12. No replacement has
If you're confused by insurance regulations in Cambodia you're not alone. Documents of the Cambodian National Insurance
Company note that rates apply for "all kind of cargo excluding bulk transportation, in bags and valuables."
After all, why would anyone want to insure valuables?
If you are one of those fortunate few who can afford to work the restaurant circuit but are tired of the same old
fare there's a great lunch deal at the Regent Hotel in Tuol Kork on St. 528. For only $3.60 you get a superb Malaysian
just-about-all-you-can-eat fixed lunch. Lots of different curry dishes that will please your palate.