Mondulkiri Province - Sen Monorom
A nine hour bus ride brought us to Mondulkiri Province found in the north-east region of Cambodia. On our journey to Sen Monorom we stopped off for a toilet stop. There were a few stalls at this rest stop and we were shocked to see they were selling fried tarantulas, crickets and crabs. They had a large bowl on the floor infront of the fried tarantulas with dozens of tarantulas that were still alive! Lots of other tourists were taking photos of them like us, but there were many Cambodians walking away with small plastic bags filled with about 8 fried spiders! Not for me thanks, sorry Dad me and Fay won't be doing a bush tucker style trial just yet.
The terrain here is a lot different to the southern flats as the hills roll like England. Also simalarly to England temperatures are at a much more comfortable level, with the daytime temperature of 20-25c and night of about 15c, we would actually feel cold for the first time since September.
We booked straight into a guesthouse 5min walk from the main road costing $6 a night without hot water. It would cost $8 to have hot water, but being used to showering with cold water we decided the cheap option. The water was COLD. We expected it to be mild cold like everywhere else we've stayed, but this would truelly take your breath away and make you gasp. We dropped off our bags in our room and headed straight out for dinner as we hadn't really eaten anything all day. We went to this restaurant that was run by a 55 year old chain smoking woman from Holland. We met her as we stepped off the bus giving us a flyer for her restaurant, telling us she cooked stews and had meatballs. We expected a restaurant but it was infact her home, and we were her only guests that evening. Half of the evening was spent in near darkness apart from candlelight as the power was being switched off for a couple of hours each evening that week. We had decided to treat ourselves that evening as we hadn't eaten western food in a long time. Knowing that western food is generally pricier out here it was definately a treat, however we never expected the food to be this pricey. After spending half an hour in her home, enjoying a couple of beers and talking about various different topics, I knew it was too late for us to leave when I saw the food menu along with its prices. Around 28,000 riel ($7) for each meal! This felt like daylight robbery considering we usually spend around $10 for both our meals accompanied with a few drinks.
Though I must admit the Flemish stew and meatballs and mash definately went down a treat and the final bill camne to $20 which we justified as being ok as we hadn't really spent any money that day, plus the £20 of birthday dosh Pamela gave to me as it's a fitting present as I know how much Pamela enjoys cooking and eating her stews.