honestly sincere

sok

If I take away one thing from this country it will be the generous, friendly nature of the people I have met in this small corner of Cambodia. Like Sok, one of the pool attendants at the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor. Every time I came for a swim he would greet me, bring me some fruit and ask me about my day. He seemed genuinely interested in whether or not I liked his country. Without irony or subtext or sarcasm we would chat for a few moments only, yet the human connection was real and sincere. And so it was all over Siem Reap: an earnest inquisitiveness, an absence of hidden agendas, an honest concern. What does it say about my life in New York that these kind of interactions would seem so surprising, so out of the ordinary?

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all this and siem reap, too

grand hotel d'angkor

Built in 1932 to provide accommodations for the first wave of travelers to whom the Angkor Temples were an obligatory stopover, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor is hands down the place to stay in Siem Reap. Spread over acres of landscaped French gardens, it exudes an old-world Cambodian grandeur updated with all the mod cons and comforts. Behind the unassuming façade is an understated elegance of art deco tile hallways, languorous ceiling fans, colonial style furnishings, and what must surely be the country’s most magnificent swimming pool, surrounded by fragrant frangipani trees. This hotel has style to spare – and the steamy weather only adds to the atmospheric allure. I keep expecting to find Somerset Maugham in evening attire, smoking in the Elephant Bar or Bette Davis peering through louvered shutters, clutching a scandalous letter. I’m in heaven to say the least. They don’t make them like this anymore.

grand hotel swimming pool

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