Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Surprise, surprise!

If you're thinking of visiting Cambodia, and in any way squeamish, get ready for an attitude adjustment.  Any of you who know me, will know that I'm not a big fan of bugs or creepy crawly things, and I've encountered some things here that have tested my mettle.  Considering I used to run like a scared rabbit when I saw a mouse, I've come a long way.  I've had to.

I've blogged here about eating rat near Battambang, though I wouldn't try the fried crickets.  And I've blogged about being served quail's heads and chicken heads.  (I'll admit I left the quail's heads on my plate, but I did gnaw on the necks, which were pretty tasty.)  And I know now that I must have eaten half a chicken's head at Prom's wedding before I figured that the curvy 'bone' I pulled out of my mouth was, in actual fact, a beak. (Surprise!)  Considering I wouldn't eat the quail's heads, I felt pretty proud of being able to eat that chicken's head, but when I looked at the other half, I just couldn't do it, so I fed it to Gordon.
A few days ago, I was eating some soup.  It had a lot of green vegetables in it, and a bit of meat.  It also had some (cooked) white things in it that I swear were white grubs.  (Surprise!)  Those I politely left on my plate. 

There are all kinds of bugs here.  Everything from head lice (VERY common here) to huge cockroaches the size of quarters.  I've just come to expect them now.  I've also resigned myself to the fact that I could well be needing a treatment for my own head lice before I leave.  (Surprise!)

Yesterday, I went to lean against the door jamb, and  (Surprise!) I almost squashed a praying least I think that's what it was.  I didn't jump, only because it didn't jump at me....but I treated it with great respect, and gave it wide berth just in case it decided to leap.

It was about 4 inches long.
OB Joyful (the cat) has gotten pretty good at hunting.  So far I've seen her with a mouse and a small snake in her mouth.  Just so long as she doesn't decide to present me with her latest quarry, I can deal with it. 

Occasionally I'll see a kid playing with bugs.  To them it's normal.  They carry them around and occasionally pull their legs off.  And I suppose that's OK, just so long as they don't expect me to join in the fun.

I arrived one morning to find Riem playing with these guys....
They're about an inch long....(Surprise!)

Last year, the guesthouse we were in sprayed for bugs occasionally.  We were never really bothered by any, except for one big hairy spider I found in a corner that I had to call the cleaning staff to remove for me.  The cobwebs would accumulate in our room as quickly as the cleaners would take them down, so in the back of my mind, I had visions of spiders lurking in dark corners or creeping across my bed as I slept.  This year our guesthouse room is spotless.  I know they spray regularly, because after the room has been cleaned, I can smell the 'lemon' scent that masks the Raid.  No creepy crawly's this year, not unless you count the little lizard who visited us one evening in the early weeks of our stay.  Oh, these little lizards are all about in the hallways.  They lurk near the light fixtures at night waiting to capture tasty bugs that are attracted to the light, and in the daytime, they hide behind the picture just outside our guestroom door.  But they don't bother me... not as long as they keep their distance.

Sue (the founder of Honour Village) had asked us to design a shopping bag.  She'd purchased a huge roll of fabric for the purpose, and we finally got around to that task yesterday.  And as I rolled out the fabric..... A tiny snake fell out from the folds.  I stood back, breathless.  It didn't move.  It was dead.  Surprise! 

So far, I've been pretty good at handling these 'surprises'... but with almost three weeks left to go, there's bound to be at least one more.  I'm hoping it won't be a big one and if it is, I hope I don't make a complete fool of myself. 

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