Trip Start Nov 30, 2009
45Trip End Nov 06, 2010
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Buying tickets also took way longer than we had planned, the locals kept cutting in line, so finally Ryan used his backpack to push them out of the way so we could buy our tickets.
By the time we actually got on the boat all the good seat were gone. Our friend Ben, had been there 45 minutes and he managed to get the last good seat. So we never would've gotten them anyways. We had to sit on a wooden bench for about 7-8 hours (maybe more).
The boat ride was very scenic but also freezing cold
Ffinally made it to the elephant festival and checked in with the organizers, as we had pre-arranged a home-stay with a Lao family. We went to drop off our bags and meet our family. It was quite awkward since they didn't know a word of English and our Lao is almost as bad. We tried to communicate by hand gesture as best as we could (They understood the motion for eating and showering, and that's all you really need).
The Elephant festival is help in a different village each yeah, and this year it was help in a little village called Hongsa. The village is very tiny, only a few dirt roads and a lot of dust
There was a schedule with the times of the different performances (such as logging, bathing, and riding) by the elephants throughout the day, but it was not followed closely. Most events we tried to watch were either nowhere to be found, or over by the time we got there. The elephants were great to see, but perhaps the best part of the festival were the performances by the Lao people on the main stage. One of the performances was by group of mimes, went on forever, then was finished off with 10 minute impression of forest bird calls. The calls were very realistic and the theatrics that went along with each call were hilarious. Next we had a magic show. This was no regular magic show, it was like the magician had been trained by GOB from Arrested Development. His dancing and cheesy hand movements were identical, the only thing missing from the performance was "The Final Countdown" by "Europe" blaring on the speakers. Next we watched performances by famous Lao pop singers. The teenage girls were screaming and going crazy for the performers, who knew how to work the crowd into a frenzy. To top the evening off there was a big fireworks display.