Mmmm, fried crickets and grilled snake kebabs for my birthday dinner! Eating out in Cambodia has been quite surprising! Tonight, Star Kampuchea treated us for dinner at a local restaurant. The food was delicious and fresh and, yes, we also tried some of the local delicacies, including the aforementioned crickets and snake! BTW, crickets taste a bit sweet and snake tastes like - I think you've guessed it - chicken (except more chewy)!
Today, during our second and final day of orientation, we discussed the controversial topic of orphanage tourism. Apparently, an alarmingly large number of orphanages have sprung up in the Siem Reap area as the numbers of tourists have increased. Some of these places are exploiting the children by making them perform, entertain and pose for photos with daytripping tourists in exchange for donations and contributions. It was quite a controversial topic during today's discussions.
At about 12, were take on a city tour. First stop was the Olympic Stadium. built in the 50's, it houses a beautiful swimming pool. It was all the more appealing as the sun was scorching our skins and we were all the more tempted to dive in and cool off! Our second stop was the central market, where we had some disappointingly bland and rather greasy spring rolls stuffed with tarrow root (is that the correct spelling?). By the time we reached the Wat, we were seriously melting.
At about 4pm, I'd had about enough of traipsing around in the hot sun and took my leave from the group. Went to the FCC (Foreign Correspondent's Club) along the Mekong Riverfront for a couple of smoothies and a salad. It took me about an hour to cool down. I thought I was going to explode.
Off to Siem Reap tomorrow early on another 6 hour bus ride!