Drinking Beer Lao and trading laughs with Savath and Lav Su Sai in Savath's house, I thought back on last year when Savath had Sone translate our conversations for each of us. We even got to look at some land Savath had for sale. I liked Sone and wished I could have seen her this trip. When I met her last year, she was still single, in her late twenties, and still searching for a man. I hope she has found him.
Of course, the most memorable time at the Savath's was the first time I met him. It was my first time traveling in Lao by myself. I was looking around the Pak Lai market for anything I could use and buy. I came across some women preparing an after work party in front of their market stall and was invited to participate. I did my best to say "no" but one woman was so persistent that eventually I said yes.
One of the women who I had said "no" to actually seemed offended and asked why I had said "yes" to the one woman but "no" to the rest of them. I had to explain it was just that the other woman would not take "no" for an acceptable answer.
Looking back on it now, I am so happy that I eventually said "yes." Not only would I have missed out on a fun time, but I probably would have never gotten to meet Savath.
It was a time when I was still trying to find a comfortable mode of movement for myself, traveling in foreign countries. It was just about the time that I realized I needed to find a New Way to operate. Being stand-offish or reserved like Westerners generally are... just wasn't going to cut it.
One of the women of the group was very attractive, petite and spoke and understood English pretty well. Tukta had a government job and was just helping one of her friends that day. She made communication very easy. I hope, someday, I get to see her again.
Anyway, the party moved over to Savath's house and that's when I met him, in 2012. Five years later, we can't speak each other's languages very well, but between his little English, my little Lao, and the assist from interpreters, we understand each other pretty well. Also, I supplement my visits with messages and photos sent to Savath on Line, in both English and machine-translated Lao.
At any rate, Savath, Lav Su Sai and I set out for a night of bar hopping. They apologized to me a little bit because they knew I would have prefered Khoun Ten, but their preference was for the newer floating restaurant, Houane PairKok PairKham. When we got there Savath and Lav Su Sai were well-known to the woman owner/operator and given VIP treatment. It's like most everywhere else where you don't know anyone: it's hard to fit in. When you know someone high up, you're treated very well.
We had dinner and I don't know what the heck I ate. I know I was careful with volume, not trying to eat too much, being in unknown culinary territory. As day turned into night and more beer was drunk, I started to get drunk. It's good to be with friends when you feel yourself losing it.
Before I was too far gone, however, the owner/operator introduced us to her newest waitress Naphaphone. I indicated Lav Su Sai that I'd like to be friends with her or at least have her telephone number. She didn't have Line, but she was on Facebook, so I had her friend me on Facebook, which she seemed happy to do. I had her do it because, at this point, I didn't trust my abilities to set-up the communication connection without making a mistake.
Savath, Lav Su Sai and I moved over to Heuan Phair, next door, where we met some other girls and drank with them. But, by this time I was pretty wasted, so we called it a night.