I decided to leave Lao a little earlier than planned. I was anxious to get back to the Bann Nah project. There’s so much more you can do at home. When you’re travelling, you see a lot and meet different people, but I’m a task-oriented person. I like to get stuff done, not just look around.
So, I had my favorite tuk-tuk driver Lou take me to Pak Lai’s southern bus station around 9am. En route, he told me when I come back, he’ll take me out of town to “see beautiful girl,” which I interpret as there being some bars with bar girls outside Pak Lai.
On the ride south to Ken Thao, I counted myself fortunate not to have run into Nuey. Had she even come to Pak Lai to meet me? Probably not and probably I’ll never know.
At Heun Phair, yesterday, before I met Duangtar and his students, I got a great shot of a long tail family motoring by. After that, and after Duangtar and his students had left, and after I shot footage of the moon rise, I called Nuey one more time, when “our song” was playing on the karaoke machine. I just let the song play for about 20 seconds, then rang off.
Will I ever see her again? Probably not. Will I ever hear from her again? There’s always that possibility. Will I initiate contact again? Doubtful. If she knew a little English, it would still be pretty hopeless, but there’d be a better chance of becoming friends because we could communicate without third person interference.
At the border, I stopped in at the Lao-side market, bought Thip some T-shirts, had a Beer Lao dark, then bought a case of it, arranging transport across the border. I did not realize it at the time, but they actually smuggled it across for me, taking the bottles out of the box, distributing them in covered bags, and the box broken down. Hey, I could get fined for that! Oops, and they could go to jail! Probably me, too.
The sawngtheaw ride from Tha Li to Loei and the bus ride from Muang Loei to Nong Bua Lamphu both seem to get shorter and shorter each time I take them.