For our bus ride to Siem Reap, we were entertained by the many ways that Cambodians get themselves and their stuff from place to place. The highway was a decent road with light traffic, by Indochina standards. Besides the usual motorbikes, bicycles, tuk-tuks, cars belonging to government employees, small trucks, and tourist vans, we encountered families riding farm tractors and ponies pulling wagons on the open highway. It makes for interesting maneuvers when you have conveyances traveling at speeds ranging from 10 to 100 kph all trying to use the same stretch of pavement, but the most exciting element of all is what, and how much, those conveyances are carrying.
Imagine a scooter limping along on nearly-flattened tires, carrying toilet paper rolls in a shrink-wrapped bundle the size of a small house. Or a small pickup truck loaded with construction materials and people crammed into the cab, over every inch of the construction stuff, sitting on the tailgate, two boys standing on each of the running boards, two hanging onto the roof of the cab, and one on the hood. Etc. Shane told us that the driver was probably charging his passengers a certain amount for a spot in the cab, a little less if they were in the bed of the pickup, and even less for those who were hanging onto the side-view mirrors or the windshield wipers, but no inch of sellable space would go unused.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling great that day, and the woundedness of the country was getting to me. I was in no mood for wackiness, then, when we pulled into a tourist trap for a break.
This roadside market was famous for edible bugs: crickets, tarantulas, cicadas, and silkworms, among others. As Shane put it, the Cambodians will eat anything that moves. An army of children descended on us, begging us to buy an assortment of junk as we sought the restrooms. When I re-emerged, I tried to get into the spirit of things, but just couldn’t; the place was hot, dusty, gritty, packed with tourists and beggars, redolent with rancid oil and exhaust fumes. I couldn’t wait to get away. According to the intrepid members of our tour group, tarantulas taste a lot like crispy fried chicken skin.
We did, however, get our feet cleaned by garra rufa fish that evening at the market in Siem Reap. For $2, you get your feet energetically tickled and nibbled for 20 minutes, and a beer! I swear, my feet were a size smaller when it was done.This entry was posted in Honeymoon 2013