I first noticed it in Saigon.  We were at a local restaurant and I was trying to get the waiter’s attention to settle our bill.  Service at restaurants in SE Asia is dependably slow.  As I waved my hand the uninterested looking waiter ignored my antics and started picking his nose.  To the untrained eye it looked like he was trying to touch his brain until he pulled a green nugget from his nostrils and inspected it proudly.  At that exact moment my flailing arms attracted his attention.  He flicked the booger aside before striding over to hand me the check.  I was disturbed by the experience and wrote it off as an isolated incident.  I was dreadfully wrong.  Apparently nose picking is a national pastime in Vietnam.  Bus drivers, hotel receptionists, bar backs, street hawkers and tour guides have all partaken in the hunt for gold in front of us and unabashedly.  I even watched a small child in our train cabin dig into the depths and produce a whopper which he proceeded to chow down on while his mother looked on lovingly and smiled.  After several weeks of being bombarded by the images, I found myself absentmindedly digging around in my beak.  Nug busted me and growled, “What are you doing?!”  Without a hint of guilt I replied, “When in Rome my Nug…”  With apparent disgust she shot back, “Just cause you are in Rome doesn’t mean you are a Roman.”  I retreated to the more understanding reception of our hotel to finish the job that I had started.

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