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Around The Sun: Plans That Go Astray

Steve Harrison became involved in a mad venture in Cambodia.

You’ve traveled so far, the wind in your face you’re thinking you’ve found the one special place where all your dreams will walk out in line, and follow the course you’ve made in your mind: Well, it isn’t gonna be that way, it isn’t gonna be – that way. Steve Forbert from the Album “Alive on Arrival”

I figured I had enough money to last me a long time in Vietnam. I wanted to stay there for at least a year and learn the language. I planned to open a guest house or a bar, earning enough money to get by on without touching my savings.

Alex had other ideas. He thought we should get involved in a business. This was a country in which a man could make a fortune. I wasn't interested in making a fortune, but I trusted Alex and said I would suppport him in a business.

Alex then decided that Pnhom Penh, Cambodia, was where we should build our empire. I hated the place, but again I said I would help him to get something started there.

The small bar and guest house became a 70-room hotel with a huge bar. This had a staff of 35 and was open round the clock.

I told Alex I would take photos of the place then produce a brochure to encourage business. I thought this would take me about two weeks to complete, then I could head back to Then I would head back to NhaTrang.

The first bar I saw in Phnom Penh was the Temple. I loved it. It was lush, well-decorated and had a great atmosphere. Then Alex showed me his hotel. It was hottible. Decaying rooms and rambling corridors. It was a mess!

Alex had great plans. He was going to do this. He was going to do that. This place could be built into a great business. A gold mine. No, a diamond mine!

I wasn't out to get rich. I am not a greedy man. But I allowed Alex to persuade me. He would give me a third share of the hotel for US $39,000. He would guarantee that my capital would be returned in six months. He had worked out the figures. The place would make a fortune.

Against every bit of my better judgement I went along with his scheme. There hasn't been a day since when I have not regretted following my own plan. I had enough trust in him to give him my money.

Which part of the word "small'' didn't you understand Alex?

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