Spiders, Rain, and Round the World
Phnom Penh Travel Blog› entry 30 of 126 › view all entries
The nine thirty bus to Phnom Penh left sometime after ten and made two rest stops instead of the usual one which broke up the 5.5 hour trip nicely. The second stop at, I think was, Skon was rather interesting. Local food venders displayed large bowls of fried insects including tarantulas. It's the only town in Cambodia that specialize in the giant spiders as a food source, a trait said to have evolved during the Pol Pot days of the Khmer Rouge Regime when food was scarce. Since reading about the delicacy several years ago, I envisioned doing a photo essay on the process but seeing the fried critters up close changed that desire. It was enough seeing them on a plate - someone else's plate. Baby birds were also available.
The afternoon arrival into Phnom Penh marked the start/finish line for another round the world trip - home and back - since the 24th of March, about 216 days.
I checked into the Mekong Palace along the riverfront. It's an old hotel I had seen over the past four years but never stayed. I chose it primarily for its exotic name. My simple 4th floor room had air-conditioning which was greatly appreciated in the thick tropical air; eleven days had not been long enough to acclimate to the tail-end of a hot and humid rainy season. An open veranda at the end of the hallway overlooked the Tonle Sap River and its confluence with the Mekong. Construction walls of the past two years along the river-side of the street were finally down, returning the street-level view to the river. Nothing had been built in all that time but the view was back.
I went to the familiar Green Vespa for a couple of ice cold Angkor beers in bottles and a fine ham steak dinner. Dirt and mud squished through my toes as I walked back along the river. I was tempted to take a $2 river cruise but opted for sidewalk beers instead which turned out to be a good call. As I sipped a happy hour Angkor, the sky let loose with a torrential downpour. The air freshened and cooled slightly, and the busy street cleared as people ran for cover. Tuk tuk drivers rolled down the tarped sides of their motorbike-towed carriages and bikers donned their raincoats. Some of the beggars got drenched to seek even more sympathy. After twenty minutes, the rains passed and the streets came back to life.