Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vietnam (pt. 2/4 A Little Cobra Won't Kill Ya): An Excursion Through South East Asia

We arrived back in Hanoi just in time for dinner. One main thing that I wanted to do while we were traveling through Asia was try snake which is why this adventure deserves a post by itself. In Vietnam as well as most of Asia eating cobra is supposed to give the consumer increased vitality, stamina, and is even considered an aphrodisiac. When we got back to our hotel and mentioned it to our friend Tam the travel, he knew just the place to find some cobra.

We walked up to the restaurant and Tam explained to the staff what we came to do. At first I honestly didn't know what to expect but as it turned out I got exactly what I was looking for. 

A man went to a cage outside of the restaurant, reached in and pulled out a king cobra. He asked if the snake he retrieved was OK and as we nodded yes, they began to prepare the meal. 

"Its go time"
Clear bottle for the cobra blood, Green bottle contains rice wine

Once the blood had been drained, the staff took the cobra to the kitchen to prepare the meal. It came as a shock to us that one snake could be made in to so many dishes, SEVEN in total. The cobra was surprisingly flavorful. 

My "Fuck it, lets eat some cobra" face

On the left is the heart of the king to be eaten/drank with a shot of wine&blood.

In addition to shots of cobra blood&heart there was also...

 cobra neck...

 cobra spring rolls(2 types)...

 cobra salad...

fried cobra skin...

 cobra porridge... 

and what I can only describe as cobra mystery dish.

Props to Bango who actually tried the cobra 

John couldn't stomach eating cobra so he stuck with the chicken

We came, we saw, we ate some fuckin' cobra. I'm glad I got to try this delicacy and mark one more thing off the Asia 'to-do' list. Now that I've eaten king cobra, doesn't that make me the KING?

Vietnam (pt. 1/4 Hanoi & Ha Long): An Excursion Through South East Asia

Before the trip began we planned to stay in Vietnam for one week so that we could visit the north and the south. We flew into the city of Hanoi, in the North of Vietnam and our first task was finding accommodation. As we pulled up out front of our hotel the taxi driver was shaken down by a police officer and the driver had to bribe the cop to get out of a ticket! Apparently this is not uncommon in Vietnam but seeing this within the first hour of being in the country left us with a big question mark over how the rest of the trip would go. Once we checked into our room we decided to go ahead and book all of the tours that we would be taking while we were in Vietnam. That way we could have a solid game plan and eliminate stressing over what activities to do next.

Tam the travel agent

Our new friend Tam the travel agent helped us book our tours and by the time we finished, it was lunch time. Tam took us to one of his favorite local restaurants for some beers and a bite. We had some boiled peanuts and three or four local dishes that were all delicious.

After lunch we hit the streets to explore Hanoi. 

Oh  ya know, just frying up some chicken on the curb

Sunset over Hanoi

Notice how this intersection has no stoplights or signs...
Now watch us run through it!

The Next Day we took a three hour bus ride North East to world famous...

 Ha long bay Made up of hundreds of limestone islands rising up out of the sea, Ha long translates to 'descending dragon' and it is defiantly the kind of place I could imagine dragons hanging out if they were real.

Once we got settled on our ship we took a quick tour of a cave on one of the islands.

After the cave tour we spent a couple of hours kayaking around the bay before we got hit with some afternoon showers.

There was a break in the rain so we went swimming on a local beach then it was back to the ship for some lunch. We spent the rest of the night squid fishing and singing karaoke. The next morning we took a quick tour of a pearl farm before heading back towards land. We met some cool people on the ship, travelers from around the world and spent the next day laying out in the sun and cracking jokes on the ship ride back to shore. Once we made it to shore, it was back on the bus returning to Hanoi.