Saturday, July 18, 2015

Lao Trip 11.3 - Tana Village

Thanks to a friend, I was able to visit and hang out in a typical Lao village as long as I paid for the beer. OK by me!

It was an exciting 20 minute motosai ride from PL2 to Tana Village. Great scenery and anticipation of what I might find.

Once we got there, this Falang was the object of immediate curiousity, first by the kids and then with the older men. My friend’s relatives walked in and out all day long, sometimes staying a while to see what a Westerner was really like. Apparently, I was off-limits to any of the young women or girls, as I saw very few.

 The structures in the village were similar to those in the Isaan, but less metal and concrete; more wood. Some houses still had woven bamboo walls, which is something you no longer see in the Isaan, except maybe at shacks out on people’s farms.

Weaving is still actively engaged upon. I was amazed at the dexterity of a neighbor’s weaver and how could she keep straight where she was going with the colored threads. It almost seemed magical, in a way. Were I to attempt to do it, it would be very slow going and I’d have to constantly refer to a diagram. With her, it was almost as if she didn’t give it a thought.

It was a hot day and I was surprised that not more people took showers – ab nam. This is what we do in the Isaan when it is very hot. Some days I take upwards to seven showers a day just to cool off and refresh myself.

People were very, very friendly, even some of the older guys who had fought in The War.

Food consisted of som tam (papaya salad), mangoes, rice and a little bit of pork bar-b-que. I rarely saw a truck, certainly no cars.

Lao men driving mechanical buffaloes with carts attached came in from working the rice fields at end of day and I saw that women preceded them coming from the river and bathing there.

That exciting motorcycle ride to the village turned into a bit of a terror ride on the way back, as we had been drinking beer – slowly, true – all day and we didn’t leave until night fall. Not smart, but I felt my driver was not drunk. The timing, I had no control over.

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