Bolevan Plateau

Trip Start May 11, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Thursday, July 7, 2005

This morning at the bus station the only condiment available at the baguette stands to fill our baguette was condensed milk - very naughty and very tasty!!! We took an aircon 'tourist' bus to Savanakhet to spend the night and from here go to Pakse the next day and change buses to go to Tadlo in the famous Bolevan Plateau the coffee making area and land of rice paddies and waterfalls. Of course the bus wasn't aircon, but we were very used to that by now. There's not much to do in Savanakhet, but we found a restaurant that has movies so we went there for the night. A guilty pleasure! In the morning we took a local bus where we were stared at shamelessly by everyone. A very dirty and poor mother with 2 kids sat next to me despite there being many available seats. The little girl sat in the row opposite us and promptly threw up on herself. Now the mother squashed over onto the seat next to her and elbowed the little girl and smacked her until she moved over enough. On these local bus trips, the bus stops often in places where women run up to the bus windows to sell sticky rice, chicken pieces on a stick and corn. It's quite cheap and when you're hungry sticky rice and corn is great.
We were dropped on the main road near Tadlo and walked about 2km through a village to the river. Lovely view and with a restaurant overlooking the river this is where we stayed. We spent the next couple of days on a motorbike - once with a guide and once just Ben and myself. The guide showed us coffee plantations and a Katang village where they make their own coffins and the women weave. We didn't see the coffins although we were assured they were underneath us, but we saw lots of women on complicated foot looms and we also saw a young girl chuffing on a huge pipe (tobacco and sugar cane) like she was a pro. We learned about different types of rice and how to make sticky rice. We were taken through a village of children who screamed, "saibadee" (hello) at us in hoards to a waterless waterfall with a great view and a nice opportunity to stealthily take photos of a women doing her laundry in a pond. We also stopped at a morning market which was pretty lame, but w4e got to see a grandmother hit her little baby grandson in the head with an umbrella when he cried. Once we were back at the resort we sat in the restaurant for sunset and watched families bathing themselves in the river and children playing naked on a bridge.
The next day we decided to venture out on our own in the direction on Salavan to the East. It wasn't the destination we were after so much as the journey through bright green rice paddies with ladies in china-man hats picking rice. We saw every farm animal imaginable, makeshift tractors carrying scores of people jammed in the back going to work. The ride was just generally gorgeous and offered us the opportunity to take photos i'd been yearning to take, but couldn't being stuck on a bus. The whole day people were so amazed to see 2 falang on a bike that they would drag their entire families outside to yell, "saibadee" at us. Everywhere children would yell and wave and some would even blow kisses. By the end of the day I felt like the fricken queen!
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