Some two years ago having hot footed from London to Siem Reap via Bangkok I was pulled up short in my tracks by the faceless customs officials at Siem Reap International Airport.
This was not the first time I had been to Cambodia, two years previously I made a seamless entry with the help of the concierge services at the Navatu Dreams Hotel Navatu Dreams Siem Reap. For twenty dollars on top of the entry fee I sailed through the airport like Posh Spice and immersed myself in the Cambodian madness straight away.
This time however – with more than a little haughty confidence and a ‘I’ve so been here before’ t shirt I proffered my downloaded and completed visa form with appropriate sized photo of self only to be told that it was no good! How could it be no good when I had only recently downloaded said form from the Cambodian embassy website? In fact the internet ink was still wet! Undeterred I completed another form and the unsmiling officials took my dollars and pointed further down the counter, apparently I was to wait there whilst they did the necessary stamping of passport.
I made my way somewhat less smugly to passport control and I was sent back as this time I had not completed a customs form…..but our part of the aeroplane were not offered any. Another official looked through his desk drawer and handed me a dog eared piece of paper and pointed to the pens on a central counter..Yeah yeah I got his drift, by this time I was the only one left the wrong side of passport control and I could see my lonely suitcase getting dizzy by itself on the conveyor belt as all its new found friends from the hold had already started their holidays.
As you may know from subsequent posts I made it across no mans land and was collected by the lovely Titimha from the Privilege Floor Borei Angkor Resort Siem Reap with a sweet smelling jasmine wreath and a much needed bottle of chilled water….. I had already forgotten the unspeaking, unsmiling and don’t look at me officials back in jobsworthland.