I never really know what’s coming next. This is another reason why I love vacationing in Lao so much.
When I had arrived in PL2, I messaged Dao that I was here. She is my contact to teacher Duangtar; herself a former student of his who had just graduated from Palisard Business Administration College in Pak Lai. She had married Luy shortly afterwards and now had an administration job somewhere in the town; possibly at the school.
Dao was the girl who, two years ago, had spotted me looking a little down at Heuan Phair and had called in Duangtar, as his English is good. That’s when I first met them and their friends K’Kong and Samneuk. It was a time when I was finally reconciling myself to probably never seeing Nuey again. That was the reason for my long face that afternoon.
Anyway, I wasn’t surprised when she messaged me today, asking what I was doing. Through her, I was hoping to link up with Duangtar again. She told me she was drinking beer with friends at Thavekhoun Restaurant in Houaysaykhum village about 15 minutes away. So, I hung out in the shade of the river road and waited for a tuk-tuk to come by.
Another reason I love traveling in Thailand and Lao is that local people will look after you -- like I had those French off roaders. The owner of Khem Khong and Sayadeth noticed me and asked if I needed a samlor. I replied that I did, thanking her. A neighbor I’ve ridden with before came and picked me up shortly thereafter, taking me straight to where I needed to go.
Thavekhoun is just a private home with some raised and roofed platforms in the backyard; a very local scene.
Dao had left, but teacher Xaysana was there with some of his students who were graduating from Palisard. I saw Samneuk again and greeted him. Xaysana invited me into their group; a little surprised to see me, I think.
We all had fun mixing Lao and English. The girls were especially interested in my wife, our ages, children and what color skin does my wife have? I said same as Xaysana’s and they all laughed, as he is much darker than Lao in Xaiyabuli (aka Sainyabuli) Province.
Lao girls and women -- like Asian women generally -- value white skin highly. Most who can afford it apply whitening creme to their skin daily. When out in the sun for any length of time -- including riding a motorsai -- they will either use an umbrella or wear a hat or cap. Actually, baseball caps are getting more and more popular because of this reason. Although it looks cute and picturesque, riding a motorcycle with one hand on the accelerator and the other hand holding a small umbrella is a lot more work. Whenever I see girls riding this way, it always reminds me of how, as lifeguards back in the USA, we worshiped the sun and proudly displayed our deep tans.
One of the girls -- Tae -- has eyes that light up. Young people have clearer eyes than those of us who are older, but some have a brightness -- a twinkle -- that is beyond the norm. Tae has it and it is beautiful to watch. She caught me watching her more than once.
Tae's the one with the baseball cap.
Just before sundown, we broke up. The girls would not let me pay for any of the beer. I got a ride with the main group of them and told Xaysana I’d see him again. Later, I ate dinner at Khem Khong and then had a beer over at Banna; first with the French guys before they left for dinner and then by myself.
The woman who runs the restaurant -- I’ve known her for a couple of years. Last time I was in town, we even drank together with a group of her middle age women friends. Now, she had a younger friend join her and when her friend wasn’t looking, made gestures to me that I should sleep with her. Her friend was attractive; maybe late 20s. I declined with a smile, thanking her for thinking of me.