Travel Adventure with Bay Isles Resident Bob Gary

Eating Cobra in Viet Nam

Live Cobra Before Dinner In Vietnam

This story is featured for the month of February because of the legendary qualities of eating cobra.

Outside of Hanoi is an area called Le Mat or Cobra   Village. In this area, you will find a number of restaurants   which specialize in live cobra dinners. The cobra is   supposedly the Vietnamese answer to Viagra. I can   report that I have been to one of these restaurants but   cannot attest either way to the efficacy of the   aphrodisiac qualities of ingesting cobra.

On this trip I was accompanied by my long time friend   and sometimes travel companion, Rick Taft. Rick was   always game for a unique travel experience that was not   necessarily attractive to our wives. I had known Rick from  my time in the Ohio Governor's office and despite being   the great grandson of Republican President William   Howard Taft, he was working for the very non-Republican   Ohio Attorney General.

We had each purchased a thirty-day unlimited travel   ticket from Cathay Pacific. The only requirement was   that on each leg of the trip we had to fly in and out of   Hong Kong. On this particular leg of the trip, we found   ourselves in Hanoi. We had passed on the opportunity to   eat Thit Cho, known to us as dog meat and had not even   entertained the possibility of cat or mouse cuisine which   is also available

The cobra meal begins with being escorted into an area   where the live snakes are caged. Once your snake has   been selected, it is put still wiggling on the floor. The head   is cut off. The still beating heart is cut out and offered to   the guest of honor. Rick and I both declined, and the heart was consumed by our Vietnamese host.

A mixture of bile and blood is then mixed with wine and   offered to the guests. We did pony up for that   experience immediately producing a slightly queasy rumbling in my stomach.

The snake is then skinned and prepared in a variety of   ways. The skin is fried and there are any number of   different dishes. Like everything else unidentifiable that   we eat, cobra meat tasted very much like chicken. It was   actually quite tasty once you got past the blood and bile and the fact that you were eating a snake that was   squirming around ten minutes ago.

I do feel confident that we will not see cobra franchises   challenging Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants anytime   soon. I am equally confident as givers of .affection for our   dogs and cats neither of these will be appearing at your local diners.

The idea of eating mice is unthinkable so we   can skip even speculating on that possibility.

The take away returns us once again to a popular theme.

Travel without the guardrails teaches us that across our broad planet, people are experiencing life in their own way. They are living and even dying in a manner unique to their culture. They are worshipping and ordering their priorities in ways we find puzzling. This extends to the foods they eat. What we find repulsive, they may treasure as a delicacy. It is thus not a matter of who is right and who is wrong but what our mamas told us to eat. There is room for all of us and our own unique way of experiencing our lives, but for some reason, none of us seem to think so.

Cobra For Dinner
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About Robert Gary

Robert D Gary has a JD from Case Western Reserve Law School and an LLM in Criminal Justice from the NYU School of Law.He was formerly a trial attorney in the US Department of Justice ,Deputy Chief and Acting Chief of the Cleveland Strike Force , Special Assistant United States Attorney Director of the Ohio Organized Crime Prevention Council and a Special Assistant to the Governor of Ohio. He has received commendations from the US Attorney General and J Edgar Hoover former Director of the FBI.He was managing partner of Gary, Naegle and Theado LLC a plaintiff’s class action law firm. He was the originator of the Chinese Drywall class action litigation.In 1995 he was appointed by the federal court to represent Muslim prisoners in federal prison. His expert turned out to be a terrorist and the unindicted co conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. On 9/11 both of his daughters saw the World Trade Center Building Collapse and one was a first responder and Chief of Communications for the Red Cross.Because of these personal experiences subsequent to 9/11 he began studying Islam and traveling in Muslim countries including Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Indonesia, Oman, Jordan and beyond. He is a World Affairs lecturer on Crystal Cruise Lines and a frequent speaker and lecturer at the Longboat Education Center. He has also lectured at the Ringling College of Lifetime Learning and at Einstein’s Circle.He is currently writing a book on the Quran with a noted Islamic Scholar and Imam. Azhar Subedar.Most recently he has been lecturing on the Special Counsel Investigation utilizing his experience directing major federal investigations and grand juries.

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