Perhaps because this part of the trip was arranged through a travel agency through a travel agency (yes, that’s a chain of two travel agencies, as it turned out), there were several places where we were booked into a class of luxury hotel that was well above our normal standard. It’s quite possible that in some cases the amenities that we require (air conditioning during monsoon season, for example) were not available in lesser classes of hotel, especially since we also expressed a preference for older, historic buildings with some charm.
In any case, the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor is the kind of hotel where a uniformed man opens the door for us, and the ladies at the front desk greet us as we walk by, there are cool towels to wipe our faces after braving the outdoors, and a butler is available to assist us at any hour of the day or night. In short, when we enter the front door we have walked back in time to the best that the French colonial period had to offer.
Here is what I wrote in my journal the evening before we departed:
I am in a continual struggle with the staff here at the Raffles Hotel regarding how to serve me best.
Now–you’d think that perhaps I am the one of us who would be the expert on the subject. But apparently not.
Two or three times a day I move the TV remote control and entertainment guide off my night table (where I need the room for my stuff) and put them next to the TV (where they won’t get in my way). And two or three times a day I return to the room to find that they have moved them back to my night table.
They put a bottle of water and an extra glass on my night table. I am grateful for the water, and I move it to the bathroom where I need it. I move the glass to the table where the fruit is. Where I can ignore it.
They rearrange all my belongings on my night table to make room for the glass, the water, the remote control, and the entertainment guide. I move all these things back into my familiar arrangement, where I can find what I might need in the middle of the night in the dark.
They arrange all my items on the counter in the bathroom in order by size. And they put the soap dish prominently in the middle. I move them back into groups by use, and I put the soap dish out of the way.
I am going to win this silent dispute. Tomorrow, I leave. Bwah-ha-ha!
They are going to win this silent dispute. Tomorrow, I will be gone. Bwah-ha-ha indeed!