Our Last Night With Margaux

When we arrived to Phnom Penh from the beach, we knew it would be a busy day. We first had to find a hotel, we couldn't stay at the place we had before, because they had tried to charge us for having a hot shower (after we had agreed to the price of our room including hot showers). Their response had been "oh... when we say with hot shower we mean the possibility of paying for a hot shower on request" grrrrrrrrr. It was an exceptionally hot and humid day and we wanted an air conditioned room, the only one we could find had only one bed in it, but it was a big bed and the room was so small that we thought the air conditioning would be extremely efficient, so we dumped our bags in it and hopped in a tuk-tuk to run our various errands.

We first hit the Russian Market where we stocked up on some very nice souvenirs (Margaux bought me a present for my birthday which was the next day). Shopping took the better part of the afternoon and we started thinking about our dinner plans. A special goodbye/birthday dinner. Margaux was determined to try something new and exciting, and I was determined to eat a burger with french fries. We tried to get our tuk-tuk driver to bring us to a restaurant that served snake. He didn't speak English, but I think we did a pretty good snake imitation. After driving around for quite a while, with our driver stopping and asking other tuk-tuk drivers for directions, we let him drop us off on the popular river front strip where I thought I had seen some scary creatures for sale as we whizzed by.

We passed balloon vendors, drink vendors, barbeques, fruit stands until we hit what I was really hoping I hadn't seen. A trolley loaded with piles of fried insects. We asked for a demo of which parts to eat off each bug, and then got a small handful of each: grubs, grasshoppers, black beetles, jumbo cockroaches and tarantulas. Actually we got one jumbo cockroach and one tarantula, but Margaux thought that we should get two tarantulas, because we would probably all want a piece?!?
We tried to find a quiet spot along the river where we could eat our sampler, we remembered at the last minute to buy ourselves some beverages for washing down. We decided we should eat from smallest to biggest or equivalently least disgusting to most disgusting. Margaux grabbed a whole grub and stuck it in her mouth. When she bit down on it, it exploded, she squealed and her eyes began to water but she got it down. Yann and I watched on with deep respect. Yann was the next to go, and not to be outdone he ate a whole grub too. I nibbled a microscopic piece off mine and proceeded to violently gag and nearly vomit into the river. What a wimp! I was out.

Grasshoppers are a little bit easier to deal with because they are so crispy, but the black beetles have an incredibly hard shell and we couldn't quite figure out what to do with them. With a large crowd of locals gathering around us, we packed our picnic away and decided to finish them off in our guest house. The gigantic cockroach was passed over for the tarantulas, whose legs seemed crunchy and manageable. Margaux, once again did the most damage, pulling the body apart and exclaiming that it was "just like crab". Yann and I nibbled on the legs.
With our hors d'oeuvres out of the way, we headed down the street where I could have my cheeseburger with french fries (its was my birthday ok!). We chatted and summarized some of our favourite moments of the trip, then we headed down the street for some dessert. Right as we were getting ready to leave, the lights went out in the restaurant. We quickly noticed they had gone out in the entire neighborhood, the backpacker's quarter had gone dark. We hadn't packed our bags, we hadn't showered and we had a room the size of a small closet. The waitress assured us that it was usual and the power would be on in no time.

We waited in our room for the power to come on, we gave ourselves the deadline of 11 p.m. before we would start packing with our flashlights. By now we were drenched in sweat and had discovered that no power meant no water either. The three of us lay on our one bed covered in our stuff ready to be divided up and sent home with Margaux. Margaux scribbled down the last of her postcards by candlelight while I began to pack her things for her. We didn't finish until past 2 a.m. and the power hadn't yet returned. So we could now proclaim that Margaux had not washed her hair the entire time we were in Cambodia. She left us at 6 a.m. stinky and exhausted and probably dreaming of her bed back home, I know I was dreaming of mine!


2par4 said...

Dogs and bugs. I think you're ready for Fear Factor.

I eat shrimp (sea bugs).

Anonymous said...

coucou les amoureux,

Apres avoir vu les photos, non merci pour moi, je vous les laisse toutes avec plaisir, Raymond n'a pas encore vu les photos, je crois que je vais attendre apres le souper pour lui montrer. Que voulez-vous, il a le coeur fragile.
Justement ma belle Emilie, je me demandais quand etait ta fete car je savais qu'elle approchait alors je te souhaite une tres tres belle fete, j'ai fait du FUDGE en fin de semaine et je pensais a toi, cela aurait ete surement meilleur que ces bebites-la.

BONNE FETE en retard et je t'embrasse
toi aussi Yann

La plus belle des matantes


Anonymous said...

Bonjour Emelie ! Yann !

I read your rendition of Margaux's going away diner while eating lasagna and thinking who if anyone in their right mind, besides a man absolutely dying of hunger and then some, would even consider eating a fried cockroach or tarantula. And there you are, masters degree and all, eating this stuff and as expected finding that it tastes absolutely disgusting. Must be the heat.

Great pictures of Cambodia. Happy birthday en retard Emelie!!

Keep it coming.

Mon oncle Raymond.

Super-Mario said...

Hey les enfants,

Je croyais que les mathématiques développaient la logique et le sens critique. Et bien, je dois conclure comme Raymond serait d'accord, le processus n'est pas encore intégré. Je crois que la logique se développe avec la maturité.

Ah Ah Ah!!!

Nous savons bien que manger des tarentules ce n'est pas bon.

Anonymous said...

Well, I admit that wanting to do something memorable on my last night with Y&E on this trip is probably what motivated me in the whole creepy-crawly eating adventure. Now that I'm back home in cozy Ottawa, I almost can't believe we did it. Memorably disgusting anyway...but actually the tarantula was pretty good, deep fried in garlic... the meat was crab-like, but surrounded by cruchy edible exoskeleton...I'd eat it again. As for the exploding grub, think of how a cherry tomato bursts when you bite into it... only instead of tomato juice, it is squishy insect guts...

Just to clarify on the hair thing, we had no running water at all the last several days (ok, 3) in Cambodia, and before that only one or two nights with hot water earlier it's not like everyone else was washing away while I wallowed. ; )