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Big, juicy spiders...mmmmmm

sunny 30 °C
View Get Out The Map on The Rymans's travel map.

We had heard about a town in Cambodia called Skuon, where tarantulas are captured in their burrows and pan-fried with garlic and salt. The lore is that Khmer people first began eating the spiders during the dark, desperate days of Khmer Rouge regime, when starvation was rampant and you ate what you could find, including wasps, crickets, grasshoppers and anything else that moved. Nowadays the spiders are thought of more as a delicacy. We thought we would have to stop off in Skuon to find them (and we weren't planning to make a 140-km round trip detour just for that)...but as we were motoring along in our tuk-tuk in central Phnomh Penh this afternoon, we noticed a vendor selling them from a cart on the side of the road along the river. So we pulled over. I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

Here's what the cart full of insects looked like.

This is a close-up of the spiders. Big, fat and juicy!

Here's Mark biting into one.

And here's Chloe.

In the previous entry, I briefly described our bus trip to Phnomh Penh from Battambang but I left out a little anecdote about Ciaran. Ciaran, for some strange reason, gets carsick on about 6% of trips -- or in other words, hardly ever, but not reliably. Every so often (usually after his thumbs have gone numb from Nintendo DS use), he'll pipe up and say those words every seat companion dreads hearing: "My stomach hurts, and my throat has that throwing-up feeling."

When he said this to me four hours into our bus trip to Phnomh Penh, I couldn't believe my bad luck -- if he hadn't felt sick in four hours, why start now?? I don't understand these things. I rushed some children's Gravol into him, but he felt even worse after that and was looking a little green, so I fumbled around in my shoulder bag and found a sturdy plastic bag. I widened the opening and stuck it in front of his mouth. He dutifully coughed into it, but nothing else came out. I sat there for five minutes on the edge of my seat until I couldn't stand the suspense anymore (well, some of you will know how I handle these situations)....and then I reached across to the seat in front of me and tapped Mark on the shoulder.

"Mark, I'm going to need some help back here," I said.

"Really? What's going on?" he asked, immediately removing his iPod earphones.

"Ciaran feels sick and I think he might throw up."

Mark looked over his shoulder and cased out the situation. Ciaran was sitting there with his little pink bag in front of his mouth.

"I've given him some Gravol," I added.

"Okay. So what do you what me to do about it?" he sensibly asked.

"I don't know," I said. I was wishing I could think of something he should do, but really there wasn't much. "I just don't want to handle it," was all I could come up with.

Mark was out of his seat in a flash, and we traded places. I got to sit with Chloe and play her Scooby Doo DS game. Mark got to sit with Ciaran and coax him out of feeling green. Fair trade? Probably not!

Strangely, after half an hour, Ciaran was fully recovered. Maybe it was the Gravol? I don't understand these things.

For tomorrow's trip to Kampot, we've hired a private taxi.

Posted by The Rymans 05:18 Archived in Cambodia Tagged family_travel

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Patti, I know exactly how you felt...with that dreaded "I hope that he doesn't puke" feeling. I think that it could be the staring down at the DS and not taking a break to look around or come up for air. I have one guy that does that from time to time, to the point that his brother can't even play beside him because he doesn't have the good sense to not look!
Did you eat the spiders and bugs? I will have to share that one with Louise!!

Take care!!

by Mary Ladouceur

Now *I* feel queasy, thanks to the spiders! Blech. Did Mark actually eat that thing, or just put his teeth delicately on it's leg for the photo op?

by Nicky

Yep, Mark actually ate that thing -- well, most of it. He ate nearly all the legs, and might have started on the middle except for my objections -- I had no idea what might happen to him if he actually ate the whole thing, and didn't want to deal with anything that might involve vomiting. So he didn't eat the gooey abdomen section. But our tuk tuk driver did! I have photos of that as well...he seemed to enjoy our fascination with it almost as much as he enjoyed the spider. Fried up with oil, garlic and salt, they're supposed to actually be fairly tasty. Mark certainly thought the legs were all right!

by The Rymans

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