1991 Photo Contest, Nature, Stories, 2nd prize
Photographer

Eric Valli

01 January, 1990

At the mouth of the Lo Liam Cave, Ip pauses to greet a passing fishing boat.

Bird's nest soup has been a prized Chinese delicacy since the Ming dynasty. The coveted nests are made from the saliva of tiny swifts living in inaccessible sea caves along Thailand's southern archipelago. The harvest is big business and the nests are taken under armed escort to the mainland, to be sold for vast sums of money. The men who risk life and limb to gather 'the white gold of the caverns' have to scale dizzying heights to reach them.

About the photographer

Eric Valli

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