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
other in Cambodian what seemed like every minute, drinking games, friends forever pledges... you can't put a price tag on such a night, but if I was forced to... four people well fed and extremely well watered, for less than 15 US dollars!
Day 172: 22nd July
The Lost Boys
Siem Reap, Cambodia
You have to expect a certain amount of discomfort from local Cambodian buses. At least the road we were hurtling down heading for Siem Reap, my next destination, was pretty smooth by Cambodian standards.
Unfortunately, I was being gassed by clouds of noxious halitosis from a nearby yet unidentified passenger. I can't complain too much - I'm sure my eau de beer 'n' spiderleg was not too appealing itself - but I'm convinced this particular individual would be worth millions of dollars in Goverment research into poison gases. The wafts made me nauseous, and I spent the majority of the six hour journey with my t-shirt pulled over my nose and the lower part of my face, a la R2-D2.
So I wasn't the happiest chappy disembarking the bus, especially as I was greeted by a huge