He strives to keep Cambodian heritage alive in Santa Cruz
I sit mesmerized as I watch a young girl tear a hairy leg from a plump tarantula and pop it in her mouth. She happily chews on the crunchy thing, enjoying her afternoon snack. A giggle escapes her lips when she notices my open-mouthed expression, and she extends the bag of deep-fried arachnids toward me. My stomach churns. Should I? Didn’t I travel to the Kingdom of Cambodia precisely to collect exotic experiences such as this one? Despite my internal pep talk, I cannot bring myself to eat a dead spider, let alone pick one up. I politely decline. She shrugs her shoulders and glances away, incredulous that I would turn down such an obvious treat. Suddenly I feel just like Dorothy—absolutely not in “Kansas” anymore.