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Picture of the Week #88

SubscribeFiled Under: Picture of the Week,by Neeraj

May I offer you a glass of this very fine Snake Wine? No? Not even if I tell you it’s good for your “manhood” and will increase your fertility? That was the sales pitch I heard in this Southeast Asian country.

From Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), I booked a 1-day tour to see the floating markets on the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam. Interestingly, it is more economical to see the floating markets by booking a tour rather than doing it independently. Unlike in the West, where tour operators pocket the group discounts and do not pass on any of the savings to their customers, in Southeast Asia many tour operators offer cheap, convenient and no-frills tours that are often cheaper than arranging things on your own.

This was the famous floating market of the Mekong River Delta. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this. I was expecting, or rather hoping, to see a “consumer” marketplace, but this was a “wholesale” marketplace.

There was a long stick tied to the front of each boat. The items tied at the top end of the stick indicated what was being sold.

Our tour boat took us to a place that especially catered to the tourists. I hated this part. We were shown how rice candy, rice puffs and other rice products are made. Obviously, tourists were strongly encouraged to buy these at inflated prices. I bought something that I thought would be useful on my upcoming 30-hour Saigon to Hanoi “Reunification” train journey.  It turned out to be useless.

The snake and scorpion wines were on sale at the first place that the tour operator brought us to. The sales pitch was that you drink this before “boom-boom” with wife or girlfriend.

I had to stick to my principles and decline a free sample. I cannot believe snakes are actually caught and killed for this. Having said that, I’m a non-vegetarian (yes, I’m a hypocrite). But, I won’t try anything for which exotic and endangered animals are killed.

Above: more dead snakes in a bottle. Now, go boom-boom.


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