Who’d have thought… Bullets and planes don’t mix

Riverboat panorama.
Riverboat panorama.

Four hours sleep is not enough, let’s just be clear on that. After our New Year’s celebration, we had to kick into action to check out at 7am and so we weren’t at our sharpest this morning.

We flew from Phu Quoc to Ho Chi Minh City where we were supposed to have  a six-hour wait for our roughly connecting flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The day got better when we managed to get onto a much earlier flight; and positively leapt up in our estimation when we found that the airport had a coffee shop that dispensed Australian-style flat whites.

So we were sitting sipping on the coffees when an announcement came over the tannoy asking me to report to staff at gate 18. Off I trotted and reported in, to be told that one of our bags had not passed security because there was a problem and they needed me to open it up. So I was escorted back through immigration, customs and security and taken into a small side room. I was at this point running through a number of less-than-pleasant-I’ve-seen-this-sort-of-thing-in-the-movies-scenarios involving something being planted in our bags, when the nice gentleman asked me if we’d been to the Cu Chi Tunnels, which of course we had.

In the pool at Siem Reap.
In the pool at Siem Reap.

You see when we visited the tunnels Declan went into full souvenir-buying mode and got himself a pen holder in the shape of a fighter jet made from old bullets and bullet casings. When this went through the x-ray machine flashing red lights went off all over the place. After I opened the case, the security guard gingerly removed the offending plane, pointed to the bullets and shook his head in a weary way. The funny thing was that when the nice gentleman pointed to a large bin into which I could deposit the plane – there were at least 20 other planes together with a plethora of other Cu Chi souvenirs in there. I really wonder if the security guards have a side line business selling them back to the Cu Chi vendors.

The flight to Cambodia was uneventful, although the famously polite and friendly Cambodians were all obviously somewhere else today. Siem Reap is the only airport we’ve ever been through anywhere in the world that forced the children to go through immigration by themselves. And then there was the guard directing people to various queues by hitting them with a rolled up newspaper.

Anyway the greeting was much more friendly at our hotel where we’re breathing a sigh of relief to be contemplating five nights in the same place. Time to get the washing done.


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