Monday, June 20, 2011

Crocodile, anyone?... No? Then how about cake?...

MONDAY 20th June

This morning Helle and Andes picked me up at 8am and we went across Hai Phong to visit 283 Crocodile Farm...
This is the entrance, and the company car that we came in.  It has beautiful gardens everywhere, and must look amazing when the orchids are all in bloom.


Here's Andes under a pomelo (grapefruit) tree.

This fruit is durian (the very smelly one)... these are too immature to smell yet.

I don't know what these are, but they are hard and shny, like a gourd.

Everywhere you look, there's something interesting... even a few orchids

And of course, plenty of crocodiles... they have 4,000 “xiem” crocodiles (a species called Siamensis from Thailand) as well as a restaurant, Nam Phuong Queen which serves dishes of crocodile meat. There’s also a small workshop making items (wallets, belts, etc.) out of crocodile leather
This young one was about 2.5 metres long.

There was only one really big croc there, but I didn't get to see him, because he was submerged. The breeding females were all about 3 metres long and were set apart with lots of tropical forest where they could make nests for laying their eggs. (I tried to photograph them, but my camera kept auto focussing on the wire fence...  I must find out how to bypass that feature.)

These Pacific Black Ducks might have been swimming on our dam last year... they should have stayed there...
After we went through the crocodile farm, we headed into the restaurant so we could sample crocodile meat. At the door was a display of wine jars featuring a disturbing variety of creatures believed to have a beneficial effect on humans...
These two are snake wine and spotted deer wine

bear and monitor lizard

Would you believe ... ostrich...!

I think this one contains the genitalia of a male spotted deer

So, anyway, on to the crocodile meat... this stir fry was delicious. A little chewy but a pleasant flavour
and this kebab was chargrilled crocodile meat and onion. I would happily eat crocodile meat again. It isn't a particularly strong flavour, and the texture is like any other meat.

Above the restaurant was a small museum displaying pottery and other artefacts
The sign says these pots date back to the 1st  - 2nd centuries!

The potter who misfired these bowls wasn't as good a craftsman as the metalsmith who made the crocodile and the cooking pots!

Apparently the skull is a fossilised rhinocerus

This is all memorabilia from the French colonial era

After the Museum, we checked out the gift shop with crocodile skin products.
Gorgeous handbags.. out of my league at $200-$300

Stuffed crocodile, anyone?  No? Well how about these furry little fellas...
Protected native fauna did I hear you say?... too late, they're already stuffed.

I can understand why Helle always takes visitors here, it's a very interesting place, with much to look at. Apparently if you're here when the babies are hatching, they'll even let you hold the egg as they emerge. Wouldn't that be a thrilling experience? 

On the way home, we stopped off at a tailor to pick up some shorts Helle had ordered last week. The tailor is an old man and his work is beautiful. I was so impressed with Helle's new shorts, I ordered some new pants for myself so I can throw away the monstrosities I had made when I arrived here. I had a very pleasant surprise when he was measuring me... I've lost more that 15 cm around my hips... Yeaaaaa... They'll be ready next week.

Then we stopped off at a cake shop. Helle bought 2 cakes to take to her husband's work this afternoon for a treat...
This one...
and this one... The cakes are sponge, iced with mock cream. The roses are white chocolate, and the chocolate is real and delicious. I know, because I lashed out, spent $1 and bought a little one for myself...
Waddayarekun... cute, eh? 

I bought some fruit, too...
Lychees, mangosteens, apples, and some bean-filled do-nutty bun things.

So after all that excitement, I got home and it was only 10:30am!  Needless to say, I put on the jug and made a cuppa and had a couple of the donutty things. I had to wait till 12:30 my time for Jordan to get home from school so she and Bailey could see my little cake before I tried it... Very rich! It will last a couple of days in the fridge. Then after my little indulgence, Mr Cuong phoned to say he is busy, so I'll have to walk to school this afternoon after all. Probably just as well.

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