There's something about how effortlessly animals are integrated to daily life in this part of the world. It's more pronounced in the villages, but true in the cities as well. There's a dog in every doorway, chickens in every yard, pigs, kittens and ducks scurrying underfoot. But "pets" doesn't necessarily apply - in the villages especially, the animals are destined for the dinner table. (One woman in our group innocently asked why there were lots of puppies running around the village, but not really any adult dogs. The answer? They eat them, of course. The exception are the cats - they escape the wok in these parts, but the same can't be said in neighboring Vietnam.) Regardless of their fate, the animals, like the children, wander the villages at will, cuddle together for warmth in a patch of sun, hunt for scraps. The people absolutely know where their next meal is coming from; it's a whole culture where a "local" diet is the only kind.