Snake, Cricket or Frog? Ryan tells us which one tastes the best.

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Well, what Ryan really wanted to try was Tarantula but we couldn’t find any. Instead our guide took us to a place that served a trio of odd dishes: Snake Soup, Frogs and Crickets.

So how was it?

Frogs
As with most deep fried foods, there is that taste with crispy parts especially with the skin but i wouldn’t go so far as saying it tastes like chicken, there is definitely a difference in flavor, some parts still had slightly salty flavor not unlike that taste that comes from the water.

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Crickets
Same deal with the crickets but if you have ever had a bug fly into your mouth, there is a hint of that similar taste but better since fried… and with the lime pepper dip/sauce, even better.

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Snake
Very rich taste. The meat itself was good like the part right under the skin. the downside: so many bones.

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Which one was your favorite?
All of the above! All something new, all worth the try.

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Was this the weirdest thing you’ve eaten?
So far those 3 were the most unusual to date but more on the list to eventually try haha

Would you eat it again?
Definitely would eat those again!

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Chong Kneas, The Floating Village of Tonlé Sap Lake

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In Tonlé Sap Lake lies an interesting picture of life. While on the boat I couldn’t help but feel like I was peering through a diorama – as if there were an invisible divide between two groups – us ignorant tourists and the people of the floating village. Here people were going about their day seemingly oblivious to the tens of tourist boats going around the lake. They were eating amongst members of their households, playing on the floor, swinging on hammocks. There were kids that used metal basins as boats ( I didn’t know basins could hold up children). There was a floating basketball court, a school, a store, a repair shop, a church. There was even a fight that broke out as a boatman crashed into parked boats.

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We stopped by the mouth of the lake, southeast Asia’s largest. This was the only time any of the villagers did interact with us. There was a young girl on the boat who had a snake around her neck. She posed for a photo and we obliged and then she asked for a dollar (we obliged). I can only imagine what if would be like to live in Tonlé Sap. Life here is different, that’s for sure.

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Good Morning, Angkor Wat

We visited Angkor Wat two times during our four-day stay in Siem Reap. Let me tell you about the second time we came because the memory of that morning is still quite fresh. It was five a.m. and we wanted to catch the sunrise. We were so tired from touring the day before that our eyes were half-shut as we walked out of our van.

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I do not know why I was so surprised to see so many people out at dawn that day. I think I always expect sunrises to be serene and solitary. As we walked onto the sprawling fields of the temple city’s entrance, people from behind us started running forward, their bags bouncing up and down on their backs. Those that walked, walked fast, gushing into the temple doors wanting to find a good spot to see the sun go up from behind the towers.

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For a moment I thought, what is going on? But as we continued to move forward and the sky slowly began to change color, it felt less and less like touristy chaos and more like travelers neatly queueing into a massive portal eager to celebrate in one of mankind’s greatest structures.

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I think there are monuments of the earth that are so grand that they are ingrained in the daydreams of children – the Pyramids, or the Great Wall, or the castles of Europe, or the Taj Mahal.

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I must admit though that, as a child, Angkor Wat wasn’t the most popular wonder of the world to me. Maybe because Cambodia was known more for the civil war – as a natural nerd, I had read about their troubles in high school but never really thought of visiting Siem Reap. Only recently have I been hearing more and more about the ancient Temple City of the Khmers – mysterious stories, grand stories.

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Like how people say that if you examine the proportions and distances of the structures inside the Angkor complex it would mirror the constellation of Draco. Or how people tell stories that if they built these temples today it would take hundreds of years to complete instead of the thirty years that it took for the citizens from 10th A.D.

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Add to that all the beautiful, intricate details that are carved onto the walls – like the Apsaras, celestial dancers, all of them sculpted differently, not one pose alike, or the scenes from the Mahabharata or the Churning of the Ocean of Milk.

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So there we were, thirty minutes past five, together with the people of 2013. There were hundreds of us standing to watch. Cameras aimed to the heavens, some with feet dipped in puddles. Our eyes squinted a little more after every minute that passed. There are some places on earth whose grandeur is undeniable. Like Angkor Wat, just as the sun rises.

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An Illustrated List of All the Different People to See the World with.

There are merits to a shared walk on a spot halfway across the world from where you came. The laughter is louder and the songs are merrier.You will appreciate that one time a companion helped you when you could not read the sign in Mandarin or the many times you couldn’t figure out the street map of a foreign country. When the waiter at a restaurant asks, in his charming accent, table for one sir? You will reply, gladly, “Why, no! In fact, a table for many!”

It’s true that finding a good fit among companions can be challenging but you can start with the ones you know. Maybe a small group of four. Travel near, maybe to the beach. Spend a day – and if it is not a complete disaster – then perhaps you can share a trip again. Add another member, maybe two more, even three. Go a bit farther. My travel group is about an average of 7 friends.

The first few trips are about adjusting. Soon you’ll know who takes a shower the longest, who wakes up the earliest, who’s the best at haggling. You can adjust travel itineraries – someone can take the lead (that’s usually my wife, haha). As a group we get perks like group discounts on accommodations, we can taste a few more new dishes and we get to split the bill.

The places we visit vary and depends mostly on the group’s interests. There are trips for adventurous physical activities – swimming, cycling, surfing- and there are trips to experience culture and meet even more new friends.

When we are back home and we look back at our past travels, we’ll retell stories and laugh again. We’ll wonder how the places we’ve been to have changed. We’ll make plans for places we have yet to see.

Travelers come in many form; they are all different and have characteristics that make them excellent companions. I have come to meet a few. Allow me to share my list with you:

The Navigator

The Navigator is never lost, at least not forever. Adept at pathfinding, with a keen sense of direction, he or she has an uncanny knack for plotting the best way to get to the final destination (although sometimes the best is not necessarily the fastest). He is perfectly at home with using maps, the compass or high-tech GPS devices. The navigator is also not afraid to ask, well knowing that it is the locals of an area that are his best resource.

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The Jester

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Often the first person to be invited to a trip is the one with a good sense of humor because we all know that journeys are always better with comic relief. The Jester is a master at finding just the right time to crack a joke – to lighten the mood or even to lift spirits. The best of them are superior empaths , knowing exactly how a group or a member of the group feels. A few of the more talented Jesters also pick up skills like playing the guitar or consuming liquor in strange, comical ways.

The Historian

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If you have ever wanted to travel through time, travel with the Historian. His knowledge of people and culture is unmatched. With the Historian you will experience new places richly. Visit familiar sites and you will see them with new eyes. When you roam the world with him, suddenly that fifty foot high mundane rock wall that you gave little attention to becomes the place of an epic battle. What was once seen as an ordinary, worn-out house turns into a place of romance and revelry – all from a period long, long ago. They are natural sponges of information and they are among the finest storytellers.[hr_invisible]

The Journalist

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You will notice the Journalist. She’s often the one with the camera – the big one and the one built with her phone. She might have a few notebooks in her pockets (and more in her backpack). At night, while everyone is asleep, she’s still busy writing the day’s blog entry. The folks at home eagerly wait for her photos, often wonderful, to be uploaded onto Facebook or more quickly on Instagram. Do not mistake the Journalist for someone who is not enjoying the moment – she is, in more ways than you can imagine. The Journalist is a multi-tasker and is the type of traveler that is the most keen observer. If you travel with one and you are back from a vacation you will appreciate her greatly because as your life returns to normal, your mind will be taken back by the awesome stories on a blog and the photos that come with them.

The Charmer

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When the Charmer speaks, people listen. It isn’t just the words, it’s the way she gestures that calms everyone around her. Do not be surprised when even the most guarded strangers suddenly share their life stories to her. Her mind and actions are like poetry, they ebb and flow like an invisible aura. Many great favors have been done for travelers because the Charmer worked her magic – free food, better rooms, unexpected gifts. With the Charmer you will be able to visit spots ordinary tourists would not have the chance to see – often in modes of transportation reserved only for the most important people.

The Gastronomist

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“Wine and dine in style / wine and dine for a dime”. Michelin stars you say? He knows where they are. Fine dining too snobby? Not a problem. He can find all the little holes-in-the-wall. The Gastronomist is a connoisseur and food hunter who will make sure that in all the days that you travel, your meals will be delightful.

 

The Party Animal

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Say hello to the Party Animal. He knows how to have a good time. He’ll often be seen with a drink on one hand and a dance partner on the other. With the Party Animal, you’ll get access to all the exclusive clubs and the bouncers will offer you fist-bumps along the way. Prepare to collect stories of epic nights and many, many new acquaintances. The Party Animal is a creature of the night and a man of the moment.

The Adventurer

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If you find yourself hanging on for dear life on some cliff as the wind howls into your ears then you are probably traveling with the Adventurer. The Adventurer never tires and her energy is boundless. You’ll be tiptoeing through narrow mountainside paths or biking downhill at breakneck speed. Your hotel accommodation is in her bag and be prepared to be awed by majestic sunrises and the great and magnificent outdoors.

The Haggler

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If it is your first time to shop around the world with the Haggler, you should remember one rule: let her do the talking. She is a master negotiator and can sniff a good buy anywhere. The Haggler knows her way around the labyrinth-like marketplaces of the world. When you travel with the Haggler, you will come home hauling bags filled to the brim with new treasures.