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One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

would be footing the bill. Luckily it turned out that his mates, Sophy and Charlie, were top drawer characters.

They took me down the road to a local spit'n'stools Cambodian restaurant owned by a local policeman. We quickly got into rounds of jugs of Angkor beer and munchies: strips of beef dipped in "Cambodian cheese", apparently, which to me tasted like pure salt. But the combination was great, and with veggies and a plate of fruit to finish, I was well fed.

The policeman clearly couldn't get out of his day-job habit of being corrupt. After a while, out of every jug we ordered he took a pint, stood there over us and sank it in one. Apparently it was "customary". It was a funny thing to see at first, but after the third time I felt like going to his till and helping myself to a wodge of Riel. Hey, it's customary.

Despite my bloatedness, I did find room for one more morsel. A little Khmer kid came round flogging a plate of fried spiders. Not little incy wincys, mind you, but huge big bastard things. I managed to chow down a leg, and made Peter finish the rest, squishy body and all. When it comes to fried insect cuisine, I think I'll keep the line firmly drawn at crickets and silkworms.

So what a great evening! Jokes, toasting each