A Country of Natural Curiosities


Perhaps our readers at home would care for an account of the fauna that we have seen in Cambodia. Our time here has been fraught with encounters with some beautiful and terrible creatures of the east.
#1: The common house fly. Do not be deceived, they are fearsome opponents. Especially when they are the size of your thumb and are menacingly buzzing about your hotel room. And when you are an American Midwestern Female.
#2: The gecko. There are usually three or four geckos on every illuminated sign in Siem Reap. I find it endearing that Professor DeRooy likes to imitate their chirping noises. Someone mentioned that geckos are a welcome sight because it means, “no snakes”, which is always a good thing. We like geckos. They are okay. A welcome sign of relief.
#3: The elephant. Some describe them as “cute” or “gentle giants”. PISH POSH. Imagine your rib cage underneath 10,000 pounds of chronically dry skin.
#4: The Water Buffalo. They dot the countryside, providing cheap thrills for tourists. They appear to not be so bright, because we ran into one that was completely oblivious to a flourishing branch stuck in its horn. But, ah, what sharp horns.

Our hotel rooms are perhaps the best observation points for the local wildlife. Although the elusive beasts come out at night and sightings are rare, we can HEAR these fascinating specimens quite well. Especially as we drift in and out of consciousness at 4 a.m.
One such noise resembles “the special audio effects used for dragons in sci-fi movies”, according to Amanda Hayes, my roommate. We can still only guess what sort of monster uttered this noise. Elia said, “it sounded like a giant…..” She never finished the sentence.
I, myself, vaguely remember waking to what appeared to be the sound of a pig being skinned alive. It lasted for about 20 seconds, then I rolled over and sort of forgot about it.
Cambodia is a land of great beauty, but like all beauty, wild danger lurks beneath…
-Isabella Felzer-Kim

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1 comment so far

  1. Ann DeRooy on

    So if you don’t see any geckos can you just have Prof DeRooy chirp away to keep away the snakes? 🙂


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