Monday, October 12, 2015


Miracles do happen.

St. Lance, the patron of Cebu Pacific, made the plane arrive and depart from the Iloilo International Airport on time.

Almost on time as it was 30 minutes late, but enough time to bring the wife to the bus station, get my laundry and grab a quick lunch, browse through my inbox and pack my small luggage, take a quick shower and enjoy a smoke.

But not enough time to double check and realize that I am one change-of-clothe less for the 4-day trip and have only $84 with me.

Thai Airways left the Ninoy Aquino International Airport late and I have to grapple with the terms of checking out and in for an overnight layover in Bangkok that left me with only 4 hours to enjoy the transit comforts of my spacious but seedy room at the Miracle Suvarnabhumi Airport.

It was a short one hour flight from there to the Phnom Penh International Airport where touchdown was like diving into a pool of red roofs, parachuting straight to the the workshop where I was again treated to a panoramic view of dominant red roofs during lunch break, as if telling me that this will be all for me for the next three days.

That night, my first in Phnom Penh since 2004, I chased away all the hours spent in airports and airplanes in the last five days with a bottle of cold Angkor Beer, two when my plate of Khmer beef salad came, three when the conversation turned to plants then rugby then cricket, four when a supposed night cap of Happy Pizza was remanded to the next day. 

The next night, my second in Phnom Penh in 2015, the best beaches in the Philippines dominated dinner talk that segued into dog stories as the digestif turned into a Cambodian beer tasting marathon while a largely ignored Cambodian dance played, until the waiter told us to check our things, which is his polite way of saying it's time for us to go, which we did on a tuktuk because we were were either too drunk or too full or too tired to walk back to the hotel.   

And then it's time to leave, from PNH to MLA via BKK.

Phnom Penh's red roofs were still shadows when I reached the hotel rooftop for one final look; breakfast was being prepared when the sun came up; I was having coffee when the city stirred and the empty street below slowly filled with motorcycles and people.

I missed Wat Phnom and Happy Pizza but noodles were served for breakfast and that will do as the sun's rays burst forth into the red roofs of Phnom Penh.  

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