Getting Pissed – Cambodian Style…
Above Photo: ‘Get it down you” – Tasting Palm wine in Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia.
It wasn’t all hard work as I retraced the fateful steps of the trekking party in my novel BACK, who head into the tri-border jungle for a disastrous trip to the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
One day recently, when I was in Ratanakiri Province, Cambodia, I passed a small bamboo shack, the owner of which, my guide told me, was a fermenter and seller of palm wine. So I obviously stopped to take a look.
Inside the one-room shack, which also doubled as the seller’s home, palm juice was being fermented in large white plastic containers.
Unsurprisingly, the place stank like home brew, and I must have succumbed to the vapours, as I bought a litre of it for a surprisingly low US 37 cents…
The woman filtered a litre of the opaque stuff through a cloth, to ensure it was as clean as possible, although the issue seemed to be more that it hadn’t fully fermented rather than it was full of dirt.
After the deal was done, there was just time to pose for a photo with my purchases, off we were off.
That night I tried it, and discovered it was still fermenting, as the top of the bottle came off like it had carbonated water inside, and someone had just shaken the bottle.
I poured some in a glass. With the bubbles, it reminded me of freshly-poured Alka Seltzer, but the smell was terrible, reminding me of Durian, although, like that foul-smelling fruit, the taste was actually quite pleasant.
That said, I’m not planning to mass-export it any time soon, in an act of charity to stomach lining everywhere…
Our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil.
For POWs left behind in Laos, see also:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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