Bamboo bungalow, hammocks, great kids, good times

Trip Start Nov 06, 2006
Trip End Jun 15, 2007

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Friday, January 19, 2007

From our deck, the ever-moving waters of the Mekong River swirl past. A longtail churns by, it's engine puttering like a lawnmower. One of the passengers snaps pictures of our bungalow, hoping to somehow capture the essence of this slow, watery, island place. Two birds coo gently up and down the scale together, and the breeze rustles the grass strands of the thatch roof next door.

Time disappears here, and the past five days are hardly even a memory. We've met some fantastic people here and had some crazy times, possibly even a little too crazy, all of it excellent travel story material to be shared over a good glass of wine once we're home.

Yesterday, we somehow decided to have a duck dinner. To our surprise and terror, this involved walking with Mr. Kun Pao through the village to actually select the ducks, which were walking around in someone's yard. Just the mention of the word 'duck' had somehow generated an incredible amount of excitement, and within minutes ten people had signed up to join us for dinner, so unfortunately there was no backing down.

There we were, slinking back to our guesthouse, each of us holding a live duck upside down by its webbed feet. It was a long walk. Todd's duck began to get upset, pooped all over his hand, and when it began to flap its wings, Kun Pao wrapped them around one another so it couldn't flap. I was horrified by the whole process and though over and over again about the negative karma this was generating for us. Terrible, terrible. Like actually feeling your karma while it's created. And yet the family, who later shared the practically inedible meat with us, was ecstatic to enjoy duck. I could barely chew tiny bites of meat off the gangly, sinewy carcass, and the greasy skin still had wisps of feather in places. That we couldn't actually enjoy the meat made me feel even worse. My mind will be much heavier with thoughts of the animal that lost its life next time I order meat. I have a whole new appreciation for vegetarianism...

The children here are beautiful, wise beyond their years, and like everywhere else in Laos, love being silly. The neighborhood boys and girls frequently run around the beach naked and play and swim in the river below our deck. I'm amazed by their complete lack of self-consciousness - so different from the Puritanical body shame many American children grow up with! We've enjoyed a couple of good seaweed fights with them over the past few days. The distinct 'splat!' when anyone takes a direct hit is surprisingly satisfying. Yesterday, three of the boys paddled me in a dugout across the river to a small beach where we swam and had another seaweed fight. The kids handle the boats and paddles as if they're an extension of their body, and they're all good swimmers.

We're sad to leave, but the remaining dry season in Burma beckons, so off we go...
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