Monday, July 13, 2015

Lao Trip 11.2 - Hello, Seng Chalerm!

The highlight of this trip to Lao was a day’s homestay in a Lao village about the same size as mine back in the Isaan.

Before that, though, I was very pleased to find that fortunes had once again visited the Seng Chalerm. All the way coming from Ken Thao to Pak Lai, I debated: do I try the Seng Chalerm one more time in the hopes that service is a little better? Or, do I go over to the newer Sayadeth? Well, I’m glad I went to Seng Chalerm first – even if it was just for “old time’s sake.” The place had a complete new extrerior paint job and there was a new restaurant erected in the back, overlooking The Khong.

Room B15 is pretty much history for me, though, because they’ve turned it into a double bed room and all I need is a single; cheaper, too. I’m glad I took those final shots of the room the way it was, back last December. Fond memories while staying and sleeping in this room.

I got another, which was OK, but not nearly as good. That was fine by me, as I was just happy to be back on familiar ground, with people I’ve known for a couple of years. The addition of the restaurant was also a plus.

After laundry and a shower, I set off for the market, where I stopped in to say hello to Savat, the Beer Lao distributor for Pak Lai and also a hardware salesman. He was genuinely pleased to see me and called for his employee to fetch some beers. On top of that – since he knew my family members liked Lao Khao (rice whiskey) – he had his guy motorcycle over to the warehouse, draw some 40 proof out of the vats, and pout it into a plastic drinking water container – just like he had done that other time. I knew to offer to pay for it would have been impolite, so I filed this away for a return gesture on my part in the future.

I also met Savat’s mother who seemed to be quite the shrewd one.

I didn’t stay long in the market. I was anxious to hike over to PL2 and get down on the river. So, I headed for Khoun Ten, only to find that a storm had blown in and taken the bar/restaurant’s roof off.

I moved over to Heuan Phair Ta Plow where I was again warmly received. The owner family’s uncle or father even stopped in and had a few – actually, more than a few, drawing me over to his table, whether I wanted to or not. Mr. Tit is a skilled longtail boat captain and I think he was trying to tell me that when I took that longtail shot last winter, he was the pilot.

Well, he got kinda drunk, so I took leave. But, I was happy to meet him, as it is my desire to get out on the Mekong on a longtail boat and eventually learn to operate one, myself.

Popular in Lao, this trip and the past couple:

Same song, different artist and video:

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