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Published: January 11th 2008
I wonder how many times I can start a story like this?
I pride myself on not being too picky, not having too many serious phobias, but one near phobia is a fear of snakes. I don't know exactly what it is about them, the way the move or hiss. Regardless, I hate them. Seeing one just makes me tense.
We read a little bit about a snake village across the river in Hanoi. What better way to conquer a fear than to visit them up close and personal? So, off to the snake village, to see some snake...cobra to be exact. Not just to see them, but also to have them for dinner!
We got to the restaurant, O Sin. Agreed on a price, and the show began. The owner went into the snake pit and stuck his hand in a canvas sack full of cobras. What a bad ass. He grabbed one out. Mr. Cobra wasn't too happy with Mr. Bad Ass. He hissed (Cobra) and bit Mr. Bad Ass in the leg. Luckily, no blood drawn.
The restaurant proprietor continued upstairs to disembowel the animal. He drained the blood into a container, and cut
out the heart, placing it in a glass. For some reason, the heart was still beating, ready to be served to the guest of honor, me.
At our guest house, we randomly met Brian, a Canadian molecular biologist currently living in SF. He decided to accompany us to the restaurant. He examined the situation and cleared us for take off, using 5+ syllable science words and phrases like, "whisky bursts the hemoglobin cells." Mildly confused, the night ensued. They mixed together blood and whiskey, adding the heart to my concoction. Bottom's up!
A ten+ course meal ensued. The snake was a bit rubbery, but fine enough just for the story. We were fed copious amounts of whiskey, mixed with various parts of the snake. Blood wine, venom wine, and yes, snake "member" wine. After sharing horror stories, (basically just Mr. Bad Ass showing us his 4 fingered hand, with one being taken by a cobra) we taxied back to our hotel and slept like logs.
I don't know what got into me that night. Adrenaline maybe clouded my judgment. I am pretty sure the phobia of snakes is still a real phobia, but am taking baby steps
to deal with and manage it.
We have since calmed down and have stuck to more conservative dishes containing chicken, pork, and beef.
A story to be told for generations to come, "Staring down a drink mix of snake blood, a beating snake heart, and whiskey, I thought..."
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