Man about town

Man about town

IT’S duckling fishing season again in Siem Reap, and this annual pastime causes scenes that horrify tourists strolling along the banks of the Siem Reap River.

Cute ducklings, frantically wiggling their little feet and fluffy fledgling wings, are, to the untrained eye, suspended from fishing poles and used as bait.

But it’s not quite as cruel as it seems. The ducklings aren’t the actual bait. They are tied to the fishing line by a little string harness so that they can swim when suspended in the water.

But dangling beneath the duckling’s harness is another small length of line with a hook and bait attached.

The cunning strategy behind this form of fishing is that fish are now spawning on the river, and the mother fish lurks in the reeds watching over her newly-born progeny.

She regards the duckling as a natural enemy to her babies, so comes charging off the reeds to repel the duckling’s advances.

She then spies the bait, bites the hook and is one well-caught fish. Most of the time. Sometimes the ducklings do come to grief.

When the fish strikes, the fisherman whips the fishing pole back. But if the fish isn’t hooked, the line merely whizzes back into the air, smashing the unfortunate duckling with a thud onto the river bank.

PHNOM Penh-style big city crime is gradually making its mark in Siem Reap, with a recent spate of snatch-and-grab thefts by young dudes on motos.

Last Thursday night an Australian school teacher from the Australian Centre for Education (ACE) was on her bicycle heading home from the pub when a man on a moto grabbed her purse near Wat Damnak.
Luckily she wasn’t pulled off her bike – instead she jumped off and ran after the villain, but to no avail.

Her handbag, minus money and mobile phone, but still containing her bank ATM card, was found by a Khmer couple who handed it in to the police. It was then returned to her after the police tracked her down via the Phnom Penh Post’s Siem Reap bureau.

Figures relating to the prevalence of such incidents in the expat community are not available because most expats don’t bother reporting the crimes.

INTERNATIONALLY renowned UK chef Gordon “expletive-not-deleted” Ramsay’s recent food foray through Cambodia was televised in the UK last week, on Monday May 9, via Channel 4.

The program and associated commercial ventures are certainly proving to be icing on the cake for Siem Reap’s high-profile nosherie, The Sugar Palm Restaurant and Bar.

Ramsay’s investigation into Cambodian cuisine culminated in Siem Reap at the Sugar Palm where he was taught the secrets of cooking fish amok by resident chef Katana.

Now, a UK travel company, Bamboo Travel, is coming in on the back of Ramsay’s program by offering well-heeled travellers individual tours covering the culinary path Ramsay took through the Kingdom.
In Siem Reap, the travellers will attend a cooking class at the Sugar Palm.

Bamboo Travel’s Ewen Moore told Man About: “If available, we will try and arrange the class with Katana, who featured on the Ramsay program. But this is subject to availability and her commitments; otherwise it would be with one of the other top chefs.”

The price for the 14-day individual excursion leaving from London’s Heathrow Airport starts at £2695 (US$4370.)

Meanwhile, tour company Travel Indochina is also cashing in on the Ramsay exposure with its “culinary tours” to Vietnam and Cambodia.

It’s offering discounts for travel taking place in May and is also touting “a full-day cooking class” as part of the package in Siem Reap.


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