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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Scavenger hunters bedevilled by missing monkey mystery

Scavenger hunters bedevilled by missing monkey mystery

090430_08scavenger.jpg
090430_08scavenger.jpg

Photo by:
Kyle Sherer

Bill Chalmers, organiser of the yearly  Global Scavenger Hunt.

DID the missing monkey at Siem Reap's Dead Fish Tower die a horrible death after falling into a crocodile pit, or was it mercifully released into the  wild?

This was the conundrum facing Bill Chalmers, organiser of the Global Scavenger Hunt, a yearly competition that claims to crown the world's greatest travellers, pitting teams of two against each other in a series of trials through 10 countries.

The rapid-fire, 20-day itinerary and the checklist of challenges are devised by Chalmers, and based partly on his own trips throughout the world.

But this year, the Siem Reap leg of the journey held more challenges than Chalmers planned for.

When Chalmers arrived in Siem Reap, he was left "stunned".

The town had changed so dramatically since his last visit two years ago that he was worried the tasks on the scavenging list would no longer be

possible to complete.

As luck would have it, despite the forest of hotels that has sprouted up, the town is unchanged enough that the trials remained intact, with one notable exception.

"When I came here last, my wife loved the monkey at Dead Fish Tower," he said.

"So one of the challenges was to go to the Dead Fish restaurant and meet the monkey."

But according to Chalmers, the monkey, kept captive to entertain tourists, had since met a nasty end after falling into the Dead Fish crocodile pit.

Workers at the Dead Fish gave the Post a less dramatic account, saying that after feeding the monkey became too difficult, the animal was released into the forest. They could not confirm whether, as Chalmers insisted, the monkey was named Darwin.

Other Siem Reap challenges included listening to the life story of Aki Ra, the curator of the Land Mine Museum, donating blood at the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital, shopping for betel at the Old Market and talking to a Buddhist about the "three poisons of mahayana".

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