Himalayan Mad Honey - Some Things Are Worth Climbing For
Do you like honey? I love honey and I heard about a new type and now, I kind of want to try it.
In Nepal and China, there are bees called the Himalayan Honey Bees, which build their hives on the cliffs and mountain faces of the region.
These bees are scary by the way, they are huge, and grow up to an inch and a half long and have a stinger to match.
The beekeepers - I read about the Lisu Honey Hunters from China's Yunnan province - have to build fires at the base of the cliffs and wait for the smoke to rise and clear the hives before the keepers begin climbing the cliffs (using what looks like standard mountaineering equipment) and collecting the honey.
The beekeepers are still stung quite often and I really can't imagine a more harrowing job, to be honest.
The honey they collect from the hives is unique because these bees pollinate rhododendron blossoms. The honey called "red honey", "spring honey", or "mad honey", is considered to be intoxicating (although from the sounds of it, the side effects and the hangover is rough), although, in small doses, it can be used medicinally, to lower blood pressure and *cough* as a viagra substitute.
It is a bit pricey - at about $100 a pound, but maybe someday I will get to throw a spoonful in some tea.