Sunday, September 04, 2005

Snake Alley (by Peter, avoid if squeamish)

We did a lot of things today, but one big one was Snake Alley. It was certainly the most unusual. I wanted to write this tonight while it is still fresh in my mind. I hope it will go away with the writing. So there is this "night market" which is just a market area that stays open late at night. Only in this one, there are a lot of snakes. And similar things. Read on.

In one store area, there were large jars. Like, 3 and 5 gallon jars. Each with snakes in them. One with a lot of snakes. One with only snake HEADS. One with a few snakes of long slim styles. One with snake eggs. The liquids were all sort of the color of white wine, you know how some is mostly clear, most is yellowish of different hues. These were like that. But --the thing is, the snakes WERE in alcohol, and people buy the different types by the liter! They drink that stuff! All that snake stuff is supposed to make he-men feel really virile and more he-manish! It was really gross. But that was just the beginning. And I did not/not taste any of it. If that is what it takes to be a he-man, I am happy to be a wimp! Oh, I am happy to be a wimp!

Then in the next area we saw, there were a bunch of turtles hanging from the ceiling by one hind leg, on little ropes. Each was alive and kicking around. So the guy who is the butcher takes a turtle, and cuts off its head! And puts the heads in a tray for people to buy! Then he takes the body, and a knife, and cuts down the left side of the turtle, between the top and bottom shells, and then he cuts down the righ side, and pulls the two sides apart. There is a pool of blood which forms in the bottom part, and he poured that off into a pitcher. Then he pulled the two parts farther apart, and could only get about at a 100 degree angle, and had to use the knife to cut a tendon like a belt. Then the two parts came apart and he laid them flat. The he cut out the gonads, two small white pieces each the size of a pea, and put them into a shot glass that must have had many in it already. It was about full.

Then he cut into a place in the bottom part of the turtle, a small incision about 3/4 inch long, and turned it upside down and squeezed just above the incision. A bright green liquid came out, into a waiting shot glass about 3/4 full. About a 1/2 ounce of that green liquid came out.

Then he made another incision not far from the first, and took out the heart. It was still beating. Then he closed the two parts, and put the pieces in a tray next to the tray of heads, and put the still beating heart on top of it. Not on top exactly, because the turtle was upside down, but the heart was on top of that corpse, and it was there with 3 or 4 others all with the still beating hearts on top of the upside down corpses of turtles, in the tray next to the heads.

I did not see anyone buy the turtles.

Then we walked down the street a bit. The next place had a boa constrictor in a cage. There was one live chicken, and one chicken already squeezed to death by the snake and half eaten. The snake was having a hard time getting its mouth around the corpse, but it worked at it and thrashed around a lot, that snake did, and every time it did a thrash a little more of the chicken went down. Took about a half hour to get that chicken down. Well, not down,exactly, bucause it was mostly horizontal and coiled around. Just into the snake.

We passed a few other places with the snake "wines."

Then we got to this place where a guy had a cobra, a black cobra, sitting on top of its cage watching him. He had the index finger missing from each hand. I don't know why.

So this guy opens a cage and takes out a snake about 6 feet long. He grabs it behind the head and puts the head on a wooden block and hits it with the flat side of a knife, and stuns the snake. Then he takes a red rope hanging from the ceiling, which has a loop in the end, sort of a noose, and puts the snake's head in the noose. The snake is hanging down, moving a little but not much. The cobra is watching all this. So was I. So were about 8 or 10 other people. Not Pat.

Then the guy takes a scissors and goes down around 18-24 inches from the head, on the bottom side, inserts the bottom part of the scissors and cuts toward the head. The incision is around 12-18 inches long, and goes to just above the heart of the snake. Then he pulls out the main artery (do you call it the aorta on a snake?) and cuts it with the scissors and lets all the blood (I don't know if it is ALL the blood, but it's a lot of blood) run out into a pitcher that he catches it all in. It was the kind of pitcher you have in the kitchen, with a lid on it. At least, it was the type of pitcher that is in MY refrigerator!

Then he goes to where the incision began, and pulls something out of the snake, which is writhing around by now, and makes another cut. This time a yellowish liquid comes out, not so much as there was blood, and he catches it in another beaker, a smaller one than caught the blood.

Then he goes farther down the snake and makes another incision, and catches a whitish liquid (I swear it looks like cum, and someone said it comes from the sex organs of the snake) in a still smaller beaker. All of this has taken about 5 minutes at the most.

Then he points at the pictures above his head, and starts talking about (I knew this because he was pointing to them) and sure enough, those were pictures of plates of food! Do you want your snake barbequed in hose shaped pieces, or cut up, or in soup, or grilled on a stick?

That's when I noticed that behind him there were tables and chairs and waitresses, and people actually in there being served and eating. There were 6 tables, and 4 of them were occupied.

THEN, I saw him pour two small glasses (smaller than shot glasses) of the white liquid, and two slightly larger glasses of the yellowish liquid, and two slightly larger glasses of the red snake blood and put the 6 glasses on a tray. A waitress took the tray with the 6 glasses to a table, where there were 5 adults (2 males, 3 females) and one small child, around 2. One of the women, who was wearing a red and white horizontally striped shirt and who was facing in my direction, drank most of one of the glasses of the white stuff, and poured the rest into the kid! Then they all went back to eating whatever dishes they were having for dinner. I could not see which of the other adults drank the other white, two yellows and two reds, but they seemed to be behaving normally.

I wasn't. I didn't begin to calm down til the 3rd gin and tonic.


At 3:15 PM, Blogger Gene K. said...

Wow, Peter, you have an amazing memory for details. How I envy you this (for you, I'm sure) once-in-a-lifetime experience - but I'm glad you were thoughtful, courteous, and gracious enough to share it with the world via the glories of the Internet.

You do realize, of course, that you might have simply skipped all the snake-stuff and proceeded straight to the gin and tonics? But the fact that you did not shows that you are indeed a real he-man, various and sundry snake excretions/drainings aside.

PS: By the way, perhaps this answers your question?

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Bryna said...

Peter, Peter...if ur Mother only knew!! Why did I continue to read ur manuscript...YUK! But, gotta admit, it was interesting.Gives one a different perspective on the cultures, must admit that.Reminds me of our venture in Hong Kong when we ate duck stomach..had to be with the locals, you know. Why didn't you try some of it?Where was Pat this entire time? Hugs

At 9:09 PM, Blogger K. A. Laity said...

Mmmmmm -- gin and tonic.

At 6:57 AM, Blogger GINGER said...

Oh my god, Daddy! That is soooo grosssss! We miss you! Come home soon. Xoxox, Ginger and Amber

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Anna said...

As someone who watched scary spider movies with you and saw you jump like a girl and whack your head when you saw the movie spiders, I CAN'T BELIEVE you watched all this stuff. Did you throw up before the gin and tonics, or after?



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