Yesterday we left LP to visit some ethnic minorities villages a little further north. Some of the village are from the Hmong ethny (China), some are Lao ad some are Kamut (Khmer). The Hmong people mostly don't even speak Lao and live in a closed community. Most of them never leave the village even though LP is just about 45 minutes away. The village we are staying at overnight is a Lao village (can't remember the name...Ban something!) and we will be staying with the big boss! The village consists of a few huts, lots of chicken and poussins running all over the place. The girls' favorite activity is trying to catch ducklings and poussins!! The village kids are laughing waching them run all over the place and get high in the trees to get them some starfruit (carambole). The women walk around with babies and kids, get water at the river and don't seem to be very busy!!!
! To get to the village we had to cross the river over some kind of bridge (see picture), apparently not yet finished! Michael felt like Indiana Jones, takig sips out of his whiskey bottle once in a while! Our guide had bought the food for the whole family, our hosts and some more. It is almost impossible to get to stay in villages without somebody havig connections with a village. In our case our guide was one of the "mayor's" daughter's friend. After trying to catch some fish in the river with a net for dinner (got about two pieces each 2cm long!) and swimming we got back to the village. I helped preparing the meal (sometimes not a good idea...better not know what happens in the kitchen!!!). We had chicken soup (made with river water!!), rice of course and a stir fry of several vegetables. Half of the village was invited! They held a welcoming ceremony, which is something they do for all guests. The five of us got scarves around our neck and had to sit around a little table with our hands open to receive little bags of chips(!?), a few rice grains, apice of mashed banana, etc...Amelie thought it was all laid out for the Apero and kept asking when it was Apero time!!!! I guess she spens too much time with Ama and Grand-Papa!!!! After the offering they all (about 15pax) tied us little white pieces of string around each wrist and with every knot made some good fortune wishes for us. After That it was time for dinner.....with Lao Lao.The Custom is to have 2 glasses going round the guests and it is to be filled by each guest for the next one.....and it is to be drunk straight
! Michael had brought about 10 bottles of beer for the crowd abd they did the same with the beer......Had to accpet three glasses of beer and one of Lao Lao....beurk!
The house was quite big, two stories high but very simple. Made of bamboo and a little concrete the ground floor had one large room with one table and 4 chairs, a kitchen (understand one fire place on the floor and that's it) ad the first floor was just a few matrasses on the floor ad mosquito nets. The village got connected to the electricity net 18 months a go and our host family bought itself a huge antannea and TV and DVD!!!!!!
The night was horrible for Michael and me, just on 1 cm thick matrasses but the kids were ok!
After breakfast the next day we left for a few other villages and then back to our base in LP where we enjoyed a nice shower!!
Finally got some time to upload some pics...after 7 days Michael managed to already have over 800 pics (without the discarded ones) gonna have a problem some time!!!!