21.12.2016 - 21.12.2016 35 °C
Wednesday, December 21
We spent the day on the road travelling to Phnom Penh. (Pronounced Pnom Pen – Thais and Khmers do not pronounce the letter ‘h’.) Cambodia is complex and full of surprises.
Just for fun, along the way, our bus stopped at a roadside market so we could play with tarantulas! They must be quite abundant here as there are lots in the markets. We've been told these ones are not dangerous. Recognize the hairy arm?
Things are going fabulously for us here. We’re staying in a spacious room at the Diamond Hotel with magnificent solid wood furniture and wood floors. The hotel has definitely seen better days, but we are glad to have any place to retreat to that has air conditioning!!
Items are very inexpensive here. Many things just cost 1 USD. Meals average 5 to 8 USD. We're having some fun riding and bouncing around in the tuk-tuks which provide very low-cost transportation.
Perhaps one indication of the level of poverty here in Cambodia is the unusual sources of protein available: snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, snails, frogs and crickets. During the Khmer Rouge period, just 40 years ago, people had to eat anything that moved in order to avoid starvation and they probably acquired a taste for these items.
I enjoyed eating fried crickets as an appetizer last night, but only tried a tarantula leg in the market. Our host, Sambo, went a lot further… (try to guess what Lyle is thinking!)
There are lots of new foods for us to try that do not include these savoury items. Steamed rice or rice noodles are included in most meals and there are lots of cooked vegetables (most familiar, a few new ones). This was a yummy fish baked in banana leaf.