June 5, 2011
Greetings from Phnom Penh!
On this glorious Friday, we begun the day with a thrilling 2 hour bus ride to a small village. On the way, our driver and translator decided to casually purchase pseudo cactus-like flowers, more commonly known as (premature) lotus flowers. These eye-bally entities were chock full of precious gems that tasted just like peas! Yummers!
Cactus? Flower? Cactus-Flower?
These lotus flowers are no joke! There were several layers between the outer layer and the pea-y goodness and it took a good 5 minutes of hard work getting to it. If this isn’t the definition of working for our food, I don’t know what is.
Between the time we got to the village and stumbled out of the van, the entire village assembled to greet us. It was quite a spectacle, which I am sure was just as interesting for them.
A little r&r before our interviews.
Ok. Sidenote/comment: Can we just talk about how precious Cambodian children are for a second?
They are just too cute!
On a more serious note, we conducted an amazing interview with a sweet woman who survived the Khmer Rouge Regime. The one thing she asked of us was to share her story so that others can know the truth about the atrocities of the KR. A brief synopsis will do no justice to her story, but in a nutshell, she experienced the American bombings firsthand, hid to survive, got evacuated from her home, was on the brink of getting murdered but escaped, twice, and finally ended up in a forced labor camp. We were so fortunate to have met her and gratefully so, Karen gave her a warm embrace after the interview.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by the half-completed airplane field. What remains today are a couple structures almost completely covered in foliage. There is really not much to begin with because the Vietnamese intervened and prevented any further construction.
And then we ate tarantulas.
But in all seriousness, we went to a NGO run restaurant called Romdeng for dinner, where marginalized youth are employed. So by eating tarantulas, we supported a great cause! Sounds like a win-win situation if you ask me!
Even though some of us did not take the little creepy crawlers very well, it was pleasantly surprising. The pepper marination really made the dish tasty. Texture wise, think extra crispy french fries. I can’t really explain the taste, but it definitely overpowers whatever tarantula tastes like sans sauce!
Impossible seeds, intense interviews, and interesting eats.
Yup, sounds like just another day in PP