The obligatory photo of Angkor Wat
1. An alarming number of Cambodian babies are born with scars that look like bullet holes. It’s generally accepted that these babies are reincarnated victims of the Khmer Rouge.
2. Angelina Jolie is a goddess in Cambodia. They let her film Tomb Raider in the holiest temples of Siem Reap, and gave her Cambodian citizenship in 2005. Could be the $5 million wildlife sanctuary she paid for, the sheer amount of tourism she and Brad Pitt have brought in—or the Cambodian kid they adopted. But in all fairness, she has done tons of humanitarian work there.
3. Ride in one of these and you’re guaranteed instant hemorrhoids.
4. Angkor Wat is one of the most fascinating places on earth. The temple is beautiful and massive, and every brick exudes history and mystery and ominous beauty. You’ve got to go.
5. Cambodians love The Eagles. I base this information on the fact that I heard “Hotel California” at least a dozen times by the swimming pool at our hotel, which I’m beginning to suspect is partially owned by Don Henley.
6. Termite eggs are a delicacy you can purchase at the market.
7. You don’t want to purchase termite eggs. (“They taste like worms,” says Sam, our guide. “People use them to catch fish.”)
8. The jungle, at any time, is full of bats, termites, and red ants, cobras, and Koreans.
9. Sam says he once saw a single lightning bolt kill three people and 12 water buffaloes.
10. Cambodian families own trees for generations, passing them down as wedding presents. They do it so they can extract the resin from the bark, which they trade throughout Asia. And, presumably, so they don’t have to come up with a real present.