Cambodian beauty...but not her (dammit!)
the girl...or the coup
Back in Phnom Penh, I paid the driver and as I approached the hotel I saw one of the most beautiful girls I've ever seen in my life! She was not a hooker...I guess the NVA didn't allow that. She seemed to be just walking on her way home or someplace. I said hello and she responded in English...and as exhausted as I was with all the day's activities I ask if she would like a drink. That's a pretty unusual approach for me...I'm a shy guy but I was just too tired to waste time on the preliminaries.
Surprisingly...she smiled and said yes. We went to the hotel bar and she seemed a bit uncomfortably there and I gleaned that she was not used to this kind of an offer. I felt my time was wasted but halfway thru the drinks she asked if I had a room and, of course, I did...so I went full force here..her beauty seemed to recharge my battery and I said would you like to go there and she nodded and off we went. I will add here that she was as good in bed as she looked. You don't find that too often in life.
The next thing I know is there was a knock on the door. It was morning and I wondered what this was about. Maybe she was a hooker and this was her pimp to collect. You never know in this part of the world.
I opened the door keeping my foot and leg ready to block anyone I considered as trouble.
I didn't need to worry though...it was a guy from Newsweek magazine I'd met outside the hotel the day before while arranging my drive south.
"There's been a coup" he said. "The Prince (in China at the time) is out and an Army General is in".
I ask him in and he took one look at the girl in the bed and said "wow". I agreed.
He and I were the only American press people left here. An ABC crew had been here yesterday but they went out early this morning (really bad timing don't you agree.) They had snuck in through Laos.
He said he was on the way to the American Embassy to meet someone for more information. He ask me to join him and since we were not in direct competition I figured why not. But my mind was racing...he said the phone lines out of the country were blocked...he tried to call Newsweek but “nada”. I believed him and didn't bother trying to reach NBC News in Saigon or Bangkok or even at 30 Rock. He said he'd wait for me downstairs and took another approving look at the brown eyed, brown haired Cambodian goddess sitting on my bed and flew out the door.
And here I made what might be called a strategic mistake in life. I told her I had to go but for some strange reason I didn't ask how I could find her again. I didn't ask for a phone number or address or even say "why don't you come back and check early this evening we can have dinner". I did none of these...and even until now...I can envisage her great looks....and wonder what might have happened or wonder with the nasty future in Cambodia what would happen to her. You remember the great line in that Paul Newman flick..."what we have here is a failure to communicate."
Well...this was mine. I could have gotten very serious over this girl/woman from Phnom Penh.
Sadly...duty called and I got so wrapped up in the coup happenings I didn't even check if she had left a message. I don't even think I got her name..which is weird too as I can remember girls names in Saigon (Cuc) and Hong Kong (Anna)and Germany(Margie & Heidi) and Nice, France (Noel) to this day...but not hers. Oh well...what might have been..everything happened so fast. Damn CIA...curse General Lon Nol.