Ok, so I have to take a step back and go over the last part of Vietnam which included Sapa and Hanoi.
After chilling in Ha Long Bay for a couple of days me and Kylie headed out to Sapa on this damn train where they robbed us blind. What we got was nowhere near the service we payed for. I dont think I ever mentioned it before, but I would say that unless you watch yourself you really will be lost in Vietnam. Every step of the way they are out to take your money, rob or pickpocket you but at least they dont smash bottles on your head like in Thailand... But seriously, when you to to buy a bus ticket or you have an issue they will laugh in your face like “haha, stupid white man, if only he knew how much hes getting ripped off”.
A lot of countries have two tier pricing for nationals and foreigners, but in Vietnam its taken to a whole nother level. Oh yeah, and whenever you pay for something whatever you get in the end is always 4 classes lower. If you pay for first class your sleeping with the chickens, if you get the premier service you ride on the roof.....
Oh yeah, and when you book something with a tour agency they show you pictures of what you are paying for and they are photoshopped pictures of accommodation or trains in Europe, which have absolutely nothing to do with what you pay for. The country just recently opened the doors to tourists, so the infrastructure isnt there at all. Its a free for all, and in a poor ass country some greedy people are out to get theirs. Also, white people weren't the only ones getting the shaft – so were Malays, Singaporians, etc...
So when we got to Sapa we did a three day trek which through the hilltribes which was amazing. They do a similar deal in Chiang Mai in Thailand, but I think if you had the choice you should go ahead and do it in Sapa. First of all the town of Sapa is like an alpine resort. Old buildings which are the remnances of the French occupation make you feel like you are in Europe rather than North Vietnam. The terrain is mountainous, and it gets pretty cold at night as a result.
You could tell that when the French came they made their pretty little Alpine village, and kicked out all the locals to live on the periphery of town. So, just outside the village of Sapa is all these cool villages and the farther you go away from the town the cooler it gets. The mountainside as far as one can see has these really intricate terraces that hug the hills. I would imagine the only place like it in the world would be Denpasar or maybe something like that. Anyways, its really cool even though we went in the winter.
Funny enough, the year before it was so cold that 10,000 buffalo died.... Thats a lot of fuckin buffalos!!!! You could make a killing if you were the guy who handles frozen dead bufalos!!!
In and around Sapa are 6 or so different hilltribes who all have different customs and you can pick them out a mile away by their clothes. The most annoying are the Black Hmong tribe which suck teet and follow you every where you go until you buy one of their handicrafts.
Basket full of polos
These were the red hat women. They didnt hassle you to buy anything and therefore were my favorite
Woman with singular polo
I freakin love chanchos!
Chancho y polo
I really like this photo. This hilltribe is among my faves also... She wasnt trying to sell a damn thing.
My type of place!!! Hell yeah!
Then we saw this guy feeding his pig in the pig house. In Spanish we call this a chancho casa.
Rare albino buffalo
Then at night it was so cold we had to warm up so we drank rice whine from a benzene container. Or was it benzene from a rice whine container??? I for sure couldnt tell the difference.
Pig taking a piss...
Me and Kylie at a waterfall. The day before some cockass lost his footing and slipped and fell down this huge ass waterfall and got really hurt. What a cockass!!!
Then there was Shona... We met this cool woman who was an absolute riot!!! I told her I would buy her a beer if she would give me one of her bracelets, and then she went on about her husband how she doesnt like beer and next thing you knew we were carrying her basket and chilling in her shack of a house. She was honestly my favorite person in all of Vietnam, and was super funny.
I love this woman! Her eyes are closed, but thats the face she made when I told her I really like beer. Hillarious!
In order to get to her house you have to walk .5km on this tiny little walkway on the edge of the terraces.
Children. One had an infected hand which was swollen like a grapefruit. It was the dirtiest thing I had ever seen, and they didnt have any medicine. It was disgusting..
Then there was the daughter who was really beautiful and could speak perfect english for never studying. She too had an infected foot that was so swollen she couldnt walk. No medicine at all (we were in the middle of nowhere), and im pretty sure if she continued on she would lose the foot.
Water Mill son!!!!
Me with flamboyant hilltribe scarf
Peace in the Middle East!
Oh shit yeah... then I found this dead snake and was throwing at people. It was a sign from Buddha, before I left Vietnam I would drink the blood of a snake!!!!
Then I bit his head off Ozzy Ozbourne style... Sike!!!!
Unfortunately something like only 70% of children go to elementary school and then something like 45% of kids go to high school. A majority of them are left to fend for themselves as the parents do one thing or another. The rest are forced to beg from foreigners by their families.
I wanted to seperate out these ones into a seperate collection all about the Vietnamese children. I love dirty poor children! I hadnt seen any since Nepal, so it felt good to see them again...
This guy was destined to be a traffic cop. He has had a lot of practice with buffalos! Achtung!!!
Ok, you can go Mr...
We gave these children Oreos which was hillarious because they didnt know what they were. They had never seen anything like this before so they smelled it and were totally confused. One of them threw it away. I think it was the 5 year old on the right with the Tiger beer. None of these kids went to school.
Then there was this three year old who was playing with a big old harmless butcher knife
Then we went back to Hanoi, went to the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh who died in the late 60s. It was really creepy, but he looks in good shape. God knows what the hell they did to him, but the 15 soldiers guarding him damn sure wouldnt allow any photos. Sorry : (
Then we headed to his home. The French had an amazing governmental palace, but of course as a communist he decided to live a more simple life. He had a house that had two rooms, two telephones, and a steel helmet and that was about it. The most simple of abodes.
Then I lived out my dream. Some of the weird stuff I have eaten on this trip I had seen on that tv show called weird foods, and there was one that I knew I had to do – the cobra blood. I cant remember much of the episode that I saw, and I had no idea what to do but I gave it my all and it payed off in the end. If there was two things I really wanted to do in SE Asia it was 1) to shoot a rocket or RPG, and 2) drink snake blood.
So I fucked up with the rocket. I waited to see if it would be cheaper in Vietnam than Cambodia, but they didnt have it (maybe it was there, but I didnt try all that hard because I was super low on funds). So with no rocket I knew I couldnt go home empty handed with the snake blood....
So when I was in the south I finally found someone who spoke english and had them write in Vietnames “I need to drink the blood of the snake with alcohol, this that and the other, etc etc...” or at least thats what I think it said. So I tried and tried and then tried again. I must have shown this damn piece of paper to 100 people asking where I can do it and everybody shrugged me off. They told me I was crazy, or just laughed at me, or just walked away and told me it was impossible.
I was getting discouraged, and literally on my last night in Vietnam I had a lead. There was no more time for bullshit – I had to do it. So me and Kylie took a taxi to some place we had no idea where and werent convinced it was right but it was as good info as we could get. So I take a million dongs and we rolled out to this shady ass place that was 10 minutes away from the main road – like the type of place where they steal your liver at..... They they tell us to go inside this building that looked more like a school than anything else. I showed my card to the woman and my picture of a snake, and then it was on.....
We are getting warmer... but where is the good stuff???
Even this little nasty creature was creepy
We walked over to a cage and we looked around. For 500,000 dongs I could get this snake and get 8 dishes with it. I was intimidated, but then my instincts kicked in. Fuck that – I didnt come to the middle of nowhere Vietnam to eat a baby snake – I want the big boy, I wanted the king of the jungle, I wanted a King Cobra....
So then we went over to the cobra cage and they had this huge ass cobra. This fucker was probably 2.5 meters long!!! The biggest one at the shop. It was 800,000 dongs and since I was worried about having cabfare back to Hanoi I opted for the smaller cobra which was impressive enough for me.
Apparently this whole snake operation is meant for asian dudes who think their penis needs a boost. After all, I felt pretty confident in that department so I was ok with the smaller one.
So then we picked it out of a sack of snakes and took it to the restaurant. We then went through this whole schpeil that rocked my mind.
Astah La Vista Baby!!!
First they took the poison from the fangs
Then cut the fucking belly of this thing and seperate out the main artery.
Then when you slice that the heart pumps and it shoots blood out into a cup of alcohol....
Then they cut out the heart and put it in a shot with alcohol
Bottoms up suckas!!!
Then came the tears... jk
Definitely not finished... Then they cut out the stomach and slice it to get the bile and mix that with alcohol.
Then they take it to the kitchen and make 8 dishes out of it. Well some of the dishes were made of Cobra, and some of the small filler snakes so all in all we had 3 snakes, one of which was one of the smaller ones that they found dead in the cage when we showed up. I thought they were going to throw out the one that we found dead in the cage, but nope – we ate that son of a bitch!!!!
Kyles with snake wine, her fave... Way better than any French bordeaux...
And when its all finished – Voila! $40 USD later, and you have yourself two ice cold tall ones of Cobra blood and bile with the finest benzene, I mean rice wine....
This place was mental, and I have their business card in case any of you would like to go. You can eat porcupine, monkey, cat, gecko, snake, turtle, etc. If you can think of it im pretty sure they have a way to give that to you could cook it up. Shit – if you wanted a T bone made from a unicorn Im pretty sure they could hook it up.
Menu. I heard the chef really recommends alcohol prepared from venemous snake heads. Mmmm – I hear its all the rave in that new spot downtown. Appletinis are so yesterdays news – make way for snake head alcohol!
Of course I had to make a friend in it. I drank with him because he looked like he needed help in the penis department.
Uhhhh the blood was gross, but the bile was a million times worse.
Some of the dishes they had.... I give Kyles credit because she gave it a go and had some. My favorite was the barbeque cobra, then the ground snake, then the snake spring rolls, then snake soup, then the rest... Snake skin was fucking nasty. It was really rubbery and chewy and hard and slippery. The stomach wasnt bad, but the gross factor was about a 9.3.
Mmmmmmmmmmmm – I shower in this shit. Jagerbombs!
For christ sak they hade snake wine with a damn alligator in it!!! Anything is possible in Le Mat province....
On that note, im out of here. Later - B