Slow days in the village
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Yesterday, I woke up early and met up with the crazy Spaniard for a trip upriver. Our guide, Ut, is the nephew of our guesthouse owner and takes people out on treks to help him pay for English school in Luang Prabang.
We set out in the boat in the late morning, our goal: to make it upriver to two small villages and then to a huge cave that was of historic importance to the villagers around here.
I know that I keep saying how beautiful the riverside scenery is here, but I swear that the further upriver you go, the more beautiful it becomes
We made it to the first village in about an hour and were somewhat (pleasantly) surprised to find that we were the only farangs there. It was really cook to go to a village with NO tourism and it offered a closeup view of life in a Lao village. The people were very friendly, though clearly confused as to why we would want to be there, much less take pictures of their town. It looked to be mostly a farming and fishing community who supplemented their income by selling the stunning tapestries that the women wove. Many cotton and a small amount of silk tapestries lined the main street of the village, where the women would sit outside on their old-fashioed looms. One of Ut's family members lives there and demonstrated how they make the fabrics, as well as how they create the silk threads from the owrms...it was acy ually quite amazing to see how much work goes into the pieces. I bought one silk tapestry...Ivo got carried away and bought 3.
The next village was about 20 minutes upriver from the first, and while it was very interesting, it lacked the charm that the first one had. That said, not being sidetracked by textiles, it brought the day to day life of the villagers more into focus. One of the things that struck me was how everyone, big and small, had some sort of job to do to assist with the welfare of the village. Old women sat on huge mats full of rice, spreading out the seeds to dry in the sun; little girls collected river greass and beat them with sticks on the rocks (which the villagers miz into stews; young boys fished with nets int he river while the men worked on the boats or repaired fishing nets. A very cool experience.
We headed back down river with Ut and checked out the cave, which was impressive before returning to Muang Ngoi. On return to the village I had an early dinner and crashed out.
this morning saw me up early for the much anticipated local market taking place. Every 10 days all of the surrounding villages come here to sell and trades wares. Compared to other markets I've been to, this one was small and resembledmore of a flea market selling everything from fishing nets to western clothing, Beer Lao, flashlights, chickens and dogs (yes, they eat them here). Spend the rest of the day relaxing with with Germans....lazed in our hammocks and exchanged travel horror stories. The weather has cooled off a bit and looking forward to a cool night!