We left Bangkok just in time. The last day the water was definitely rising, people were leaving town and the King declared a five day holiday because crocodiles are entering the town.
The sight seeing on the way to the airport was limited. The Queens summer home which has become a place to display their gifts from dignitaries over the years, many sets of dishes, hundreds of typewriters, elephant tusks and other things that they do not want in the palace. The structure is teak , a wood Thailand over harvested and is now raised in controlled farms. It will be many years until the government sees any return on this project to return teak wood as a viable part of the economy. The King, 85 years old, is loved by the people. He has initiated many projects that will protect the environment and restore the over used land. His health is so fragile that he no longer lives in the palace, he lives in a suite of rooms at the hospital where he can be attended by doctors and nurses on a daily basis.
The next stop was the ROYAL LAPIDARY SHOP. These controlled souvenir buying junkets are part of every trip I have been part of, I suspect that local guides get a kick back on these.
At the airport our flight was delayed for over an hour because the other airports are closed and people are trying to leave Bangkok. The flight to Cambodia was on an old, very small turbo prop.
Our hotel in Cambodia is amazing. It is done in the old french plantation style, a level of luxury I have never experienced but is expected by many other people on this tour. While traveling with teachers on Fulbrights we stayed in clean hotels that were beyond the reach of the average citizen of the country but not luxurious. My fellow travelers on those trips were always very respectful of the natives and eager to converse with and learn from them. I am seeing more ugly american behavior on this tour than I have seen before. Some of my fellow traveler on this trip are part of the now famous 1% and treat the local population with disdain. I do not envy the tour guides, their job is much like teaching, herding us from one venue to the next, repeating instructions multiple times and biting their tongues at some of our ignorant questions.