Danny Blomeley - Locals and rat delicacy

Running time
2 min 35 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


After we'd come back from our motorbike patrol in the afternoon in around three or four o'clock, quite often there'd be a torrential downpour because of the time of the year that we were there. But in my little room, we'd established a bit of a gymnasium. We had some weights and chin up bars and that sort of thing. So we'd try and go for a run. We'd have to stick to the tracks because of the prominence of mines in Cambodia.

So we'd come back and then we'd just do some weights and quite often we'd get some of the locals come over. So I remember we had one young lad that come and trained with us. He was only, what's say maybe 10 years of age. So yeah, we formed a little bit of a relationship with him, which was quite funny. Unfortunately, when I recently went back to Cambodia and went back to the village, I was trying to meet him as a young man. But unfortunately, as they put it, he'd expired, which means that he'd passed on. So that was a little bit sad.

And because we had a first aid kit, or we were set up with a toolbox type. It was a first aid kit. The locals soon realised that in order to get medical treatment, they'd be knocking you on the door at 7:00 AM. So we'd have a long line up of kids primarily and we'd be putting bandage on and swabbing cuts and doing all the basic first aid there. So that was a good experience. They'd realised, they didn't really have any medical support down that village at that point in time.

In hindsight, I probably should have immersed myself more in the village. If I was to go there now, it would be a different story, but we were pretty focused on what we needed to do. And we had a little bit to do with, we had a lady that cooked for us and that also washed our clothes and we paid her accordingly. And we'd head into the village every now and again, just to get some noodles or something just a little bit different, because the baked beans on rice each day or occasionally the delicacy of rat started to wear a bit thin…

That was the delicacy. So the rat lady had come along on a push bike with a cage full of live rats and you'd pick the one that appealed to you. So it wasn't something we did all the time, but on three or four occasions we did quite often after the event. That was nice chicken. That was really good meal. Yeah, that was rat… Every  night you go to bed, and you just set your rat traps because throughout the night you'd just hear whack, whack, whack. So there was quite a lot of rats around in the area.

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