The Good, the Bad, and the Savagely Ugly

March 10, 2012

Any number of highlights to note this week. For Blossom (the generally accepted favourite nickname so far) it would probably be her new bougainvillea bush. It flowers in five different colours at the same time. It also weighs 9,000 kilos (see previous posts about not having a lift and living on the sixth floor).

Blossom has also just leant over my shoulder and told me to mention her new anti-ant technique: cinnamon. To keep ants out of the bin, she read somewhere, you need to sprinkle cinnamon around it. This may or may not work (it’s early days) but it doesn’t seem to make the floor any cleaner. So our kitchen is wonderfully scented, and so far ant-free, but looks like a clay tennis court.

Another highlight this week was eating a fried tarantula. Known as a-ping in Khmer, and supposedly discovered as a necessary source of protein during the Khmer Rouge era, they’re one of those South East Asian delicacies for fools, like blood clams, balut and cobra heart.

We were offered one in a restaurant by a Frenchman at the next table who’d accidentally ordered half-a-dozen. They’re surprisingly large; about the size of your hand, and off-puttingly hairy. They’re deep-fried and then tossed in a garlic, chilli and sugar, which apparently stops the hairs sticking to the inside of your throat.

You pluck off the legs first, which feel like warm floppy twiglets. The exoskeleton is similar to a prawn’s shell; inside the flesh is a sort of nutty paste, slightly like hazelnut. The body is more of the same. It’s not inedible, by any means, and actually quite tasty, but our western food taboos make it quite hard to put it in your mouth.  We’re not rushing out to stock the fridge with them.

Waking early this morning, I went for a stroll around the neighbourhood, and was struck by what is conceivably the ugliest house in the world.

If the picture isn’t sufficiently clear, let me stress that the roof is purple. And this really is a house, for people to live in. It’s off-the-chart ugly, and I love it.

However just around the corner from that monstrosity is the house in which I intend to live one day soon.

Around the back, it has a small swimming pool, and, oddly, a hammock made of barbed wire (it’s a work of art, apparently). I’m not sure how long that’ll last after I move in.

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2 Responses to “The Good, the Bad, and the Savagely Ugly”

  1. Hannah said

    The lady in the picture is so beautiful and looks so happy xxxx

  2. LouLou said

    Susan you have the most beautiful bush ;)xX

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