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Published: October 26th 2016
Before we flew to Phnom Penh we had a few hours still to spend in Siem Reap at the hotel, catching up on work (Lyn) and having a massage (both of us). The massage was different. It was a Thai version and consisted of being pummeled and kneaded and hit, all over. A tiring experience and we think we would enjoy the Swedish - type massage more, of pushing and smoothing with some of the kneading. But it was very good despite the powerful urge to say "STOP" a few times.
The flight to Phnom Pemh took an uneventful hour and the domestic terminal was jam-packed when we arrived at around 3.30 p.m. - hot humid and noisy. There was some important Muslim leader expected and so were hundreds of Muslims were waiting for a glimpse of whoever he was. We hadn't seen many Muslims in Vietnam or Cambodia to that point. We met our guide, Makara, a young Khmer of great confidence and loquacious manner. Talk! He was full of himself. Then again, we did keep asking questions (couldn't shut him up!). He wasn't immediately appealing, to put it bluntly. Our driver awaited outside (another Lexus) and he eased
White Mansion Hotel
The Ambassador descends to greet his guests, perhaps?
us into the mad traffic towards Phnom Penh forty minutes away. The roads were farm races, the traffic had had multiple births since Siem Reap; it was the invasion of the TukTuk's and motor-scooters alright and all really interesting and sort of exciting.
But then we arrived at another world - The White Mansion Hotel. Wow! What a delight. A gracious, elegant, boutique building, four stories high; a former American Ambassador's residence; a staff that was warm, friendly and welcoming, from the doorman to the manager; our room - spacious, elegant and with a luxurious feel to it. I could sense the CIA presence all around me. We were quite enchanted with the place. Yes, I know it's only a place to rest your head at night but the ambience of a place certainly makes a difference to getting back to it each day. Recommended.
The plan was to go and explore the local streets once we'd settled in but the skies opened and sheets of water fell to earth and made rivers of the streets etc. If anything it was heavier, more intense rain than in Siem Reap and lasted for longer. We gave up the explore
Phnom Penh skyline
From White Mansion window - note the beautiful colonial mansions - French era.
idea and settled for a light meal in the Eric Kayser Cafe attached to the hotel. And so to bed.
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