Cambodia Chronicles: Index and Lament

Due to a series of events rather too complex and delicate to explain here, some of my contributions to Wikitravel led to Jetstar Asia, my new favorite Singaporean low-cost carrier, offering me a sweet freelancer gig to traipse around Cambodia for a week, flights and hotels paid, then scribble some articles about it and get paid for that too — if deemed good enough to publish in their inflight magazine. Open Source nazi that I am, I naturally insisted (and got) the right to maintain the copyright to the works, so here they are for your reading pleasure:

And I wrote up the fabulous Raffles Le Royal hotel in Phnom Penh too.

Now while it seems churlish and ungrateful to complain after getting a free splurge-class vacation and being paid for it too, I’ll quietly whinge a little anyway.  In my private writings, I’m a free agent and can merrily engage in acerbic potshots and skewering terrible attractions, hotels, etc. In an in-flight magazine, the main purpose of the story is to sell more trips, so rose-tinted glasses are needed for any destination stories. Committing a few sins of omission for this wasn’t too hard, but writing hotel “reviews” that are not allowed to say a single bad thing about an advertiser is a little difficult even if you’re staying in the Raffles (which really is a spectacular hotel), and a lot difficult if you’re staying in a thoroughly generic three-star with so few redeeming features that, to meet my 450-word quota, I had to resort to praising the complimentary tea bags and the bowl of lumpy porridge at breakfast. At least here I can add an extra paragraph at the end listing everything that was omitted from the sanitized version. Oh, the woe of selling out to The Man…

…but, soulless capitalist that I am, I’m already busily poring over Jetstar’s route map and plotting my next trip on their dime. Sigh.

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