Tag Archives: funerals

Buffalo Soldiers: Living for Death in the Tana Toraja

2 Sep Funeral buffalo sacrifice, eyes open, throat slashed, dying in a pool of its own blood on the grass. Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

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“Are funerals like this in London?” asks my new Torajan friend.

The dead man’s drum-shaped coffin emerges from the matrimonial bedroom where he has “slept”, preserved in formalin, with his family for the last eight months. Continue reading

As Conservationists Quietly Weep…

9 Mar

Jar of rice whisky with bear paws, service station, Laos

Will You Be Wanting Fries with That?

Some way into Laos, fresh out of Lao Bao, Vietnam, and heading for Savannakhet, our bus stops at what I guess is best compared to a service station/gas station/Little Chef.

You know. You have a pee. Eat and drink a little. Do a bit of shopping. Stretch your legs. Standard roadside stuff.

Now, rice whisky with snakes and scorpions in is pretty standard tourist stuff. It’s got similar “traveller chops” status in Vietnam to the Mezcal with the worm in it in Mexico, or those crab-infused cachacas they have in Brazil.

Bear paw whisky, on the other hand, is something else altogether. Continue reading