Rice, Sapphires, Solar Cell Power, and Rats

Trip Start Jan 28, 2013
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9
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Trip End Mar 09, 2013


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Flag of Thailand  , Kanchanaburi,
Sunday, February 3, 2013

Today was a 300-mile bus ride through rice-growing country, heading north to Phitsanulok. We drove past rice fields and storage facilities, water buffalo, herons, egrets, and Asian storks. Otto explained how rice was grown and harvested. When the rice is harvested, rats come to the fields to feed. Rats are hunted by cobras who are in turn hunted by mongoose. Farmers in this region trap the huge rats, smoke them, and eat or sell. We stopped at a stand to view and purchase a kilo of smoked rats as an option for lunch. The farmers also capture the cobras for food.

Sapphires used to be mined in this region and piles of rock remain. We passed tapioca drying and fields full of solar power collectors/cells. We stopped at a fruit bat sanctuary near a river --hundreds of bats safe in the trees.

We boarded a traditional wooden rice barge for lunch and a cruise on the Sakae Krang River, passing raft houses and farmers tending their fish farms. Lunch included the local fish, both steamed and in curry, plus several other dishes and fruits. The cook prepared a dish with the rats which were declared "tasty" by half the group.

Stayed in a new hotel for OAT in the city of Phitsanulok, the Wangchan Riverview Hotel. Very nice room and breakfast. Dinner was in a local restaurant and Herb's birthday was celebrated with a cake. The last discovery was at a market stand selling insects as snacks -- only Herb and Russ were brave enough to try. Local rice wine was tasted, too.
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