Khaffeh Lao

Trip Start Feb 20, 2012
Trip End Oct 22, 2012

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Salavan,
Monday, March 26, 2012

The Bolevan Pleateau, the wild west! Well, i know, it is south, but if you would have crossed the red dirt roads, would have glanced into the wooden houses, and looked the workers heading to the field, then may be, you would have thought of the wild west too! Just need to follow the person that makes you a sign from the dirt road, far away from the asphalt. Ok, we are half way the fuel tank. 10 km, not more! Then if we don't find anything we come back. I'm improving day by day my motor-crossing skills. Coffee plants, coffee plants, coffee plants, then between kilometer number 9 and 10, here it is, the west! While the sun walks through the sky, the shadow become precious. Let's hide here for a while. There are no guns, but there are the slings, the dress code is different, but the dust on the face of the people is the same. Here you just need a sabaidee to transform a couple of probing eyes in a smile, don't know about the Wild West. On the way back a tractor full of workers, all really young. We would call them kids. For a second I try to judge, and then I think of Bien: "In the villages we marry at 15, there is not much to do, once you have studied a bit and learned your work, it is time to create a family". It might be true, their eyes are not those of our teenagers. Still you need just a sabaidee!

The plateau is quite high, an therefore the air is more clear. The many rivers and waterfall, makes it a green region (that wouldn't fit into my picture of Wild West, but just concentrate on the roads and the houses when you want to see the West!). There are flowers in front of each house (that would make it more similar to Switzerland) and everywhere of course coffee beans plantations. Miss Dao (of Vietnamese origins) has created an empire on this beans. The porshes and lexus roaring in the streets of Pakse testifies it, the Dao villa celebrates it. "There is no competition" according to the little producer where we stop to have a coffee. He works on quality (and the taste was really good) they work on quantity. Again couple of second of pride, a Moka Bialetti has found its way till here. Here they serve the coffee with the side of peanuts, and you have to keep pushing away the chickens "they love it!".

In the evening I substitute the peanuts with sunflower seeds, and the coffee with beer. Sinan would be proud of me, I've improved a lot since our last competition. While thinking of the friends back home I look at the river (there is always a river in Laos). The relation with the water is deep into the culture, even when they have water at home, you can see Laotian to go down to the river in the morning or in the evening to take their bath. They go with a bucket, inside a standard set of soaps and brushes. I love to look at this scene. It is a social moment, one of those moment that creates the identity of a culture. It is like stopping in front of an Italian bar, or to pass close the Red Sox Stadium, it is a tradition, something the people rely on.

While walking around and elephant. What are you doing here man??
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