This section doesn't have any picture galleries; I only added it because the story seemed incomplete without some account of how we got from Siem Reap, Cambodia back to Lexington, Massachusetts, but to call that "Part Four of the Angkor section" didn't seem right.
Bangkok, One More Time (Tuesday, November 29)
When it was time, we said goodbye to the friendly Peace of Angkor staff and ran the gauntlet of five-star hotels back to Siem Reap International Airport, where we were surprised to learn that we had to pay a departure tax equal to the tax we'd paid on arriving. At that point we had less than $100 US in our possession, so we had to cash a travelers' check at the currency exchange. Fortunately, they didn't charge singificantly more than for this service than the currency exchanges in Thailand, and since dollars are an officially accepted currency in Cambodia, we were able to cash our dollar-denominated travelers' checks without having to take riels first and then pay a commission to convert them to dollars.
The airport had a shop run by Artisans d'Angkor, the outlet for the guide's brother's work. We weren't interested in adding any more stone pieces to our baggage, but Dorothea bought a couple of small items. She also bought some coffee for the monks at a refreshment bar, and the young woman who sold it to her suggested that she also take some candy, as the alternative would be to receive the change in riels pretty much useless for anyone about to leave the country.
In Bangkok, we all took a taxi to Saladang Place, and Jayanto and Punnyo came inside with us. This time the owner, Khun P, was in residence. Alerted by the front desk, she came out to meet us and escorted us to our quarters a very fancy suite on a high floor, from which we had a view of Lumphini Park, with a statue of King Rama VI at the nearest corner. No sitting on the bed this time the amply furnished living room/kitchenette had a bedroom on each side of it. Khun P visited with us there for a while. She spoke English very good English most of the time, but when talking with Jayanto about her spiritual practice, she switched to Thai. After the visit, she had her driver take the monks to their usual quarters under Khun ST's auspices.
Our flight back to New York was due to leave at 1 AM on the day after the next (that is, in about 30 hours) so, although we had booked two days at Saladang Place, we wouldn't be spending the next night there. On the other hand, we knew we'd be busy with last-minute details, so if we wanted a memorable last dinner in Bangkok, this was our only chance for it. So we decided to return to Bussaracum. We flagged down a taxi near the Boots drugstore on Silom Road and told him where we wanted to go, but our mispronunciation of Thai was too much for him, so Dorothea gave directions en route. Fortunately, she knew the Thai words for "left," "right," and (most important at the moment), "straight ahead." She kept saying that as we passed one side street after another, watching the signs until we spotted Pan Road just ahead, and she said "left" in plenty of time to make the turn. When Bussaracum's sign came in view, she said "tee nee!" knowing that this meant "right here!" because she had recently met a Thai woman whose family had given it to her as a nickname.
We arrived at the restaurant in considerably better shape than we had the last time. The staff remembered us and gave us the same attentive service. We had an excellent dinner there, and went back to the hotel in another taxi, whose driver to cap the evening with a final triumph did understand "Saladang" when we said it.
Flying Home (Wednesday, November 30