Friday, 5 August 2011

The Tale of the Fermented Cat

Yesterday, I discovered that in Laos there are more uses to be made of your cuddly pets than first meets the eye. I observed this on a trip down-river from Luang Prabang to the Buddha Caves of Pak Ou.

You can get a boat from the city to these absolutely mesmerizing caves which are a sort of Buddha grave-yard: they are full of old or unwanted Buddha statues that have been placed there for hundreds of years. Yet, on the way down, of course, the boatman ensures that you fall into a tourist trap. This particular trap is referred to as 'Whiskey Village' and is just a plain Laotian village that sells tourist souvenirs and their own brand of 'fire-whiskey'.

So I thought I might have a stroll through the village, and as I entered a particular shop, I was faced with huge glass jars of whiskey, in which lay fermented cats and dogs. I didn't know what I was looking at until I spied a little paw, pressed against the cool glass, with its little claws almost scraping the jar. Yeh, too much for my Western sensitivities, so my best response was to take a picture, to ensure everyone else can be grossed out as well!

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