THE TICKLISH TRAVELS OF RACHEL COOK PART FIVE â€“ VIETNAM Rachel didnâ€™t even care if she ever heard of birds nest soup again. That was unbelievable, she thought. First, she was tied up helplessly and painfully with the soles of her feet pointed up toward the ceiling of the cave where the birds nests are collected. Then she was whipped across the soles of both feet which not only hurt terribly but made the soles of her feet even more sensitive. Then they applied sticky paste and bird seed completely covering the soles of her feet and allowed the hundreds of swallows to pick at the bird seed. The tickle torture was so bad she had passed out within twenty minutes. At least that was over now. This was Vietnam, the land where all those wonderful noodle soups came from. Her stop in Vietnam was only a short two days, one day in Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon, and one day to tour the tropical countryside to try some of the little village eateries. As Ed, the cameraman, and Rachel were driving along one of the rural highways, There were two pops, one right after the other. It was not one flat tire, but two, caused by something on the road. There were several older villagers nearby and Ed asked if any of them could speak English and perhaps help them. An arrangement was made with the villagers for one of them to accompany Ed into the city to get the tires repaired, since the one spare would not suffice, and Rachel would stay in the village. Unfortunately, Ed and the villager would not return until the following morning as any place that could repair the tires would be closed by the time they could get there. Rachel was invited to join the villagers for supper and she dined on some nicely cooked pork, vegetables and rice, with tea. Several of the men and one of the women spoke reasonably understandable English and, of course, the topic of the Vietnam was with America came up. Rachel told them she knew nothing about the war because it had ended more than five years before she was even born. She was told by the woman who could speak English about the experience she had during the night before the Americans withdrew in 1975. She had worked as a bar girl and a prostitute at that time, and some of the American soldiers, knowing they would be leaving Viet Nam the following day, had paid for her to come with them for the whole night. After she had removed her clothes, they tied her to a bamboo frame and raised it to a vertical position and then played cards to see who would get to tickle her for the next ten minutes, as they were drinking. It got to be a drunken tickle party, and she had been the hapless centre of attention. One of the men told Rachel about another incident involving the Americans. He thought that the soldiers involved must have been some special intelligence unit. They had captured a young Vietnamese woman who was an officer in the Viet Cong, the rebel forces fighting the Americans at the time. After questioning her, and being satisfied that they had obtained all of the information they could, they staked her out completely naked in the jungle with grenades attached to one wrist and one ankle. If she moved in the very slightest, she would pull the pin out of a grenade and set it off a few seconds later. Honey was liberally applied to her skin and she was left in the jungle overnight. The agony caused by animals, birds and insects was unbelievable.