I Survived Stung Treng

I Survived Stung Treng

The food in Cambodia is trying to kill you – from rancid meat to fly-blown chicken, from sewage-washed greens to mouldy bread. The grub here is ruthless. The term ‘health standard’ means crossing your fingers before every meal – and crossing your legs after it.

Now, I’ve been to some pretty sketchy places. Places where refrigeration is as foreign as the language. Places like East Africa, New Guinea, and Greater Western Sydney. But Cambodia is far out in front. The food here would kill a goat, which, conveniently, could then itself be eaten – literally creating an ad nauseam cycle of stomach cramps.

Case in point: yesterday, I bought a chop for a scruffy little dog – part act of charity, part heinous testing on animals. Today he’s missing, presumably sauntering through a kitchen in the big dog park in the sky. However, my murderous act didn’t go unpunished. I’ve been crook for days, sleeping on bathroom floors as my guts try and secede from the union. I’d go to a clinic, but that’s a death sentence over here.

Ironically, I was staying in a ward – one revamped as a guest house. I shared a bunk with a friendly strain of Ebola. Yep, Stung Treng is an anus personified. Never go there. I went to kayak through the sunken forests – but had to pass. Sixty dollars a day is twice the country’s GDP. Prices are hyper-inflated by western do-gooders. You know the type – cargo vests, bucket hats, beasts of burden under kilos of cameras, rock hard for poverty porn.

Unsurprisingly, I headed south to Kratie, in search of an Irrawaddy Dolphin along the Mekong river. Luckily, I managed to commune with a few. They look like a cadavers’ penis. Then, after cycling around Koh Trong Island, I pushed on. It wasn’t the best week I’ve had, but I had to be thankful – I’d survived the food in eastern Cambodia, and lived to blog the tale.