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Date:10/21/2014 1:06:48 PM
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Hi Hulk
Mom read about durian before, so she kind of knew what to expect. Otherwise she probably wouldn't have tried it.
What a busy day came next! The focus on this day was Eastern medicine and food. The first stop was called a butterfly garden, but it was really a spot where there were artificial caverns and dioramas explaining how bird's nest soup nests were harvested. Then swallows whose nests are used prefer to be in caverns, often in inaccessible places, so gathering the nests after the young have fledged is a difficult and dangerous process. Of course, the humans all sampled the soup, which was sweet and kind of viscous. This place also featured lots of bee products, honey, pollen, etc. But the group was led into a room where there was a lecture about the medicinal benefits of the bee products as well as some other things like tiger bone, which kind of turned mom's stomach. The Vietnamese guide whispered to her that she couldn't take this stuff into America, and she whispered back that she wouldn't want to! She was trying hard not to be judgmental, but really!
The next stop was a large market that sold lots of snack foods, but not like you're thinking--the snacks were things like candy and cashews, but also included dried, salted shrimp, cuttlefish, sea stars, small whole fish, fish crackers, fish strips that looked like long shoestring potatoes, etc. Mom mostly walked around and looked, while her friends bought a ton of stuff. After the market, the group went to a cobra show, then heard about the benefits of snake medicines. Talk about snake oil salesmen! Then it was off to a leather factory which made crocodile, elephant, and sting ray leathers. By this time it was nearing 1PM, so lunch was in Bangkok's largest hotel, on the 76th floor. Once everyone finished lunch, it was off to a large Buddhist temple, where they climbed to the top floor to see the Buddha, ring a bell (for luck), and then it was off to the hotel to check in. This hotel had a pool, so mom and her friends made use of it before dinner. After dinner the group went to what was called a 'gay' show, but was really a large group of transsexuals who performed. Most of these guys were undergoing transformation to women, and had implants and some surgical procedures, not like American drag queens. The show was actually beautiful, classy, and the girls came outside afterwards to get pictures taken. After such a long day, it felt good to go to sleep! More to come, hope you are having a fantastic day! Hugs, Gizmo
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