Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round The World 2015

Farewell to Cambodia

Breakfast contrasts, with full agreement in the end!

Today began with another superb breakfast at Raffles, which was a little later than Tuesday's and this time included a final glass of Mumm champagne - fabulous!

Having succeeded in getting the day off to such an excellent start, we walked round to the Angkor National Museum and made a brisk, one-hour tour of the building. Presentation of the artifacts was impressive and we also saw some interesting short films; however many of the pieces were in a surprisingly poor condition. (But if that's what has survived to the present day, I kept telling myself, then that's what you have to run with!) Photography was prohibited inside the museum, so the following are general shots of the building itself:

When the time came, we had another supremely comfortable and elegant transfer to the airport in the Raffles Mercedes. Landside processing was easy and pleasant, but on completing the transfer to airside, everything suddenly descended into chaos, for two reasons. First, much of the internal construction and fitting out of the terminal was still in progress, and secondly, the only food outlet (a Foreign Correspondents' Club concession) was under siege by voucher-wielding passengers as a result of a delayed flight. Bruce had a minor run-in with one of these passengers, whom he had already identified as an "Ugly American" in conversation with me.

UA to FCC staff, on learning that his choice of complimentary snack was sold out: Awwww, c'mon - you gotta be sh*ttin' me!

Bruce to UA: Excuse me, Sir, you might try a little politeness.

What made this amusing for me was that Bruce, who is half-American, had switched on his most polished, UK-received-pronunciation accent, something he doesn't normally use. The UA was temporarily startled into calming down, but later we heard him noisily moaning that he wished he'd never left home - an absurdly petulant over-reaction to a one-hour flight delay. And what would he have received in The Homeland as compensation for such a delay? That's right, zilch. I hope I never turn into somebody who spends his time loudly telling the world how miserable life is!

Flight QV526 from Siem Reap to Luang Prabang

There were only ten passengers (and three flight attendants!) on our Lao Airlines flight to Luang Prabang, which was able to leave twenty minutes ahead of schedule. We were given a boxed snack featuring a sweet, soft bun with mystery-meat nuggets. It wasn't great, but then we hadn't been expecting anything. I was aware of the hilly terrain surrounding our new destination as we made our final descent into Luang Prabang in the fading daylight.

Getting used to new surroundings at Le Bel Air, Luang Prabang

The arrival process was straightforward and we were soon on board the Bel Air van bound for our new hotel. The 'garden bungalow' room seemed decidedly plain after allowing ourselves to become accustomed to the luxurious standards of the InterContinental and Raffles. As it was already dark on arrival, we decided to have drinks and dinner at the hotel bar and restaurant. There were only a few other clients. Most off-putting was a group of four consisting of two northern-European, middle-aged, out-of-condition men and two local young women. It seemed clear that the males were sex tourists - ugh!

Wed 02 Dec

Next Day

Previous Day