Hairy Eight Legged Protein
Trip Start Dec 26, 2010
40Trip End Feb 03, 2011
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Headed straight to the riverfront for a wander and cashed my last cheque for some moolah. The riverfront promenade was barely much of an attraction. A few shots of local kids went well until they started demanding a dollar each with their outstretched hands. Pretty well rehearsed I would say. I buggered off towards the old market quickly and navigated through the streetgrids. This district definitely had its charms of cheap eats, nostalgic looking shophouses and western restaurents
Near the old market, a lion dance troupe practised in the courtyard of a temple, a definite festive atmosphere of the approaching Chinese New Year. Just at the jewellery section of the market, a hawker stopped with a huge basket of fried tarantulas and the local shoppers were crowding around. I muscled my way in for shots and asked to buy one for a taster. She refused, insisting that I purchase a bag of about one dozen for US$3. I politely declined, knowing that a whole troop of fried tarantulas down my stomach would not be doing my digestive system any good.
One of the jewellery stall owner offered me one from his purchase and watched attentively as I nibbled at one of its hairy legs. I had to leave so that I can take a few good shots of my prize in the sun. And also to avoid offending anyone, should the hairy bastard refuse to head down south in my tummy. True enough, the legs were pretty tasty with a strong herbally bite. It all changed when I sinked my teeth in the head and I almost regretted the entire episode. The mushy body with a slight odour was foul and I retched slightly as it made its way down south. I held onto the other half until I found a bin where I quietly dispose the tiny corpse
The visit to the National Museum was an informative trip after having marvelled at the ancient ruins of Khmer empire in Siem Reap. Besides the ancient artefacts on display, there were numerous large sized portraits of the ancient Khmer temple ruins on the walls, that were really spectacular in compositions and colours. The Royal Palace was closed for the few hours before 2pm, so I tuktuked my way to Toul Sleng Museum, south of the city. Toul Sleng Museum aka S2 was definitely the highlight of this Phnom Penh visit. Formerly a school, the Khmer Rouge turned the innocent looking concrete compound into hell on earth, imprisoning and torturing thousands of Cambodians and Khmer Rouge opponents from 1975-1979.
Harrowing photos of murdered were displayed, apparently from the archival records of the Khmer Rouge, who like the Nazis merticulously documented every prisoner before and after torture. Classrooms were converted into tiny prison cells partitioned by brickwalls or timber boarding and the corridors fenced with rolls of barbed wire. The Khmer Rouge tormentors were largely young Cambodians severely brainwashed by maoist propaganda. Their doctrines specifically spelt out that they harness the corruptable nature of a young mind to their advantage
Ironically the earlier cohorts of impressionable teenage Khmer Rouge torturers suffered the same fates as their victims whenever new cohorts of torturers came to replace them. Such was the value of life under the maoist regime. Not surprisingly, the Khmer Rouge was backed by China through its years in power. Why wouldn't they? The Khmer Rouge glorified Mao Zedong, albeit in the sickest way possible. The thousands of photos still etch a disturbing memory. May they find peace in their afterlives.
In search for food, I followed Monivong Blvd which is the artery of Phnom Penh city, to the new market, and also checked out Sorya Shopping Mall in the city centre. If you take the lift up to level 8, you will be rewarded with splendid aerial views of Phnom Penh. The shopping mall itself was not too bad, eight levels of fast food outlets, shopping, electronics, pirated CDs, movies, games, multiplex cinemas, gaming arcade, a food court and also an indoor roller blading rink. Most importantly, there was air conditioning. Dinner was a no frills meal of stir fried pork with cauliflowers at a chinese food stall. The rest of the night was spent bar hopping with cheap beers and chatty local hostesses.
Back at my room, surprise surprise! Little Ro was back, peering at me from the dunny. What a survivor! This time definitely not so lucky. I marched down to reception and got one of the boys to remove Little Ro. He picked the little fellow up by the tail, swung it into a towel and Little Ro was out of my room. I did hear a squeak from the little fellow as it was escorted out.