Random SE Asia

I have photos and videos that I want to share that didn’t easily fit into the day to day posts without making them too long. So, this will be an array of slightly mismatched, both cultural and silly, photos and videos from the trip.

On our arrival day to Siam Reap, we took quads on a tour out of the city center to see the rural aspects of Siam Reap. I loved passing by the houses and people but we moved way too fast to take photos. So, I have a few photos and videos from out in a lotus paddy and not much else. But, it was an interesting evening. Disclaimer: the videos all appear to be sideways or upside down but they play correctly.

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This is one of the rural villages that we passed through. They were more like houses alongside the road, no formal village center. There were cows and water buffalo (above, used for harvesting rice) and many, many dogs. We saw children having baths in wash basins in the yards and people lounging in hammocks. I loved it.

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I found the lotus flowers to be particularly entrancing, not sure why, they aren’t terribly pretty, but something about them fascinated me. It was interesting to see how they are farmed, in wet paddies, similar to rice.

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Onto to some of the less cultural aspects of our trip…the next videos are of us tasting the snake wine ( it contained a cobra.) It was awful and the videos don’t offer much except our funny faces and reactions upon drinking it. Wikipedia says:

Snake wine (蛇酒, pinyin: shéjiǔ; rượu rắn in Vietnamese) is an alcoholic beverage produced by infusing whole snakes in rice wine or grain alcohol. The drink was first recorded to have been consumed in China during the Western Zhou dynasty(ca. 1040–770 BC) and considered an important curative and believed to reinvigorate a person according to Traditional Chinese medicine.[2] It can be found in China, Goa (India), Vietnam, and throughout Southeast Asia.

The snakes, preferably venomous ones, are not usually preserved for their meat but to have their “essence” and snake venom dissolved in the liquor. The snake venom poses no threat to the drinker. It is denatured by the ethanol—its proteins are unfolded and therefore inactive—[citation needed] and would be denatured by stomach acid anyways.

I will testify that reinvigorated is not the correct word for the effects of snake wine! But gosh did we laugh that night! It was like being back in college, stupid and funny. At one point I say “this is how people die on SE Asia trips, they do dumb shit,” It is an accurate statement. Regardless, this is how we spent our Valentines evening.

In addition to the snake wine, my friend Mike tried the scorpion. I took a pass on this local treat and also opted to skip the snakes-on-sticks that this vendor was offering. I found it funny that she posted signs that you had to purchase a critter or pay a fee to take a photo. It leads me to believe that she made more money off of being a tourist trap than she did selling her wares to anyone as snacks.

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Back to a more cultural experience, these were dancers in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I found the music here much more appealing than the music in Thailand. This was peaceful and the instruments were interesting.

Last two photos. I have always gotten a kick out of cultural differences, especially the small things that don’t much matter. They catch my eye and make me giggle. These were two such things:

Ladies room sign in Thailand, above, and in Cambodia, below. Clearly recognizable as ladies rooms, but so different from the ones in the US and Saudi.

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