The main thing I took away form the walk was how difficult it can be to identify different mushroom species. The other thing I took away from the walk was how little research has been done on NZ mushrooms. There is simply so much they haven’t studied.
The guide described these as “little brown mushrooms”, probably
Panaeolus sp. [a roundhead] – on wood chip. These mushrooms are ‘hygrophanous’ that is they change colour as they age.
According to the guide these mushrooms are in the same genus as those with psychoactive properties. Unfortunately on our walk the guide didn’t point out any psychedelic mushies, though they certainly do grow in the wild here. I was also informed that collecting or possessing those types of mushrooms is illegal in New Zealand.
We also spotted a few other varieties, but due to the drier-than-normal conditions this autumn, the mushies just haven’t been growing in abundance.
One we did see, that is edible, is called the “New Zealand Shitake”.
I have to say, I was happy to get back to Vientiane last night. Even though ethnically and culturally Isan (North Eastern Thailand) is very similar to Laos, I really felt like I was coming “home” when I crossed the Friendship Bridge last night.
Here is a map showing the geography of the places I am talking about:
I had such a wonderful time in Thailand! The meeting was very interesting and I was able to network and “liaise” with a lot of librarians from South East Asia.
I’ve uploaded some pictures from the conference here.
It was quite a wonderful and amazing experience.
Staying with Dr. Surithong was great! She and her husband are so nice! Now I have a Thai family too! I’m sending her the link to this blog so I have to say great things about her – but I mean it! I hope have the chance to come back and visit again soon. Maha Sarakham is a really nice town. I visited the Sirindhorn Isan Infommation Centre, part of the library that Dr. Surthong is the director of, and learned a lot about Northeastern Thailand. I also visited the Medicinal Mushroom Museum of Maha Sarakham University, and learned about the 2,000 differnt varieties of mushrooms found in NE Thailand.
On Saturday I went with Salvacion Arlante, the head of the Philippine University Libraries, to visit the “Isan Jurassic Park”, a really awesome dinosaur museum in NE Thailand, near Kalasin. It blew my mind how great this museum was. It was located on the site of a hill where archeologists had found the complete skeletons of 3 large dinosaurs from the cenozoic era or something.
From20-23 April 2009, the National Library of Vietnam in cooperation with the Library Department and Vietnamese Library Association will be hosting the XIV Congress of Southeast Asian Librarians (CONSAL XIV) at the Melia Hanoi Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam. The theme of the conference is
TOWARDS DYNAMIC LIBRARIES AND
INFORMATION SERVICES IN SOUTHEAST ASIAN COUNTRIES
Which I plan to do, and then hopefully can get invited to Vietnam in March!
I also met the president of the Thai Library Association, who suggested possibly arranging a workshop for the members of the association in Information Literacy in Bangkok, with myself as the invited resource person.
So, I met a lot of wonderful people, saw a lot of amazing things, ate a lot of delicious food, and learned a lot of interesting things. Which I think overall makes a trip very nice, huh?