Sebastian's Ongoing Adventures travel blog

Nasavang village

village kid

man making bamboo broom

rice field

old woman just hanging out

village kids

kid playing with his crossbow

bamboo rat for lunch!

on with the trekking

rice fields and mountains

Ban Houaykok village primary school

kids showing us how it's done

walking into the village

our shack for the night

our guide Sitha and the brawn of the village drinking the whiskey

chicken head you're it Jamie!

an innocent game of chicken head with the Khmu whiskey

spectators(a few of em also joinedin on the action)

suck it up!

Sitha with one of the main village guys

the party hut

yes that's a piece of rat hanging out of my mouth!!

Khmu whiskey!

10 Feb -- Pak Ou District Trek Day 2

Last night sounded like a loud and rowdy commotion. Our guide explained to us that some of the hunters who came back late last nite were drinking lots of whiskey. Today was an early start. All the roosters and animals started up around 4 or 5 in the morning, including the hunting rooster that was tied to the side of the house about 10 feet from where we slept. He startled me and Jamie a few times till we actually got up to go to the watering hole to wash our faces and brush our teeth. Again, we were a big deal to everyone else and eyes were all big and staring. Our guide made eggs for us and warmed up a couple of baguettes with jam. We thanked our Khmu village family for letting us stay at heir place and started our hike for the day. It took about 2.5 hours to get to the Ban Nasavang Hmong village, where we rested for a couple of hours. Our guide fried us up some noodles and cooked up the bamboo rats from yesterday. He said to just eat the bone as well, so I threw a piece into my mouth and started chewing away. The taste wasn’t so bad, but the texture of the skin was quite chewy and chewing a piece of bone down to about nothing is something I just wasn’t used to. One piece was good enough for me. Jamie ate a little chunk, but chose not to grub on the bone. Talk about another fear factor moment for Seabass!

After lunch I walked around the village for a bit to get a feel for the village. There were a few people around, but most were out working in the hot, hot heat. Quite a few kids took a liking to me and followed me around for a bit speaking their language. Sometimes all I could do is smile since I wasn’t always with my guide to help interpret the village language. I sat next to an older man making a bamboo broom and we compared tattoos. There was a teenage guy who was hauling heavy bags of rice off a wagon into a house. I decided to give him a hand to lighten his work load. He seemed thankful. I also found myself squatting(yes I am quite the professional squatter by the way) next to an older woman who was also squatting and watching her 2 grand children. Sometimes it just feels awkward taking pictures of people you don’t know, especially if you have a hard time communicating with them. As long as you are polite and ask first or point to your camera, then there really is no harm. They expect it from tourists coming through and they know some of my money will go towards their village through the tour company I booked this trek through. So I just had to keep reminding myself that from time to time. I am happy to have gotten the pictures so far of some of the people so I could tell the different villages apart and share it with friends and family as well.

Once our time at the Hmong village was through, we walked another 2 hours up and down mountains, hills and past many dry rice fields and trees and bamboo that have been chopped down in order to make room for farming and planting new. The next village was a Khmu village that also had a few Hmong families. Ban HouayKok village consisted of about a little over 100 people. After putting our bags down in the hut we were to sleep in for the night, Jamie and I decided to explore the big village to get our bearings down. We found the watering hole, which was a small stream with water going through bamboo chutes which you could stand under and bathe, so no bucket necessary. We also found the primary school, in which we asked to sit in and watch the kids learn Laos and some math. After the school we walked through the village and some kids showed us hoe they played on their teeter totter. While writing in my journal infront of my hut, numerous people were coming up to me and Jamie. We must have looked really important writing in our books! I don’t mind being the minority and being constantly stared at. I’m in their neck of the woods anyway.

For dinner our guide made us some hearty chicken soup followed by a drinking game with some of the village hunters. The game was called chicken head and consisted of us sitting around a batch of Khmu rice whiskey and shaking around an actual chicken head inside a bowl covered with a plate. Whomever the beak points to has to drink a whole glass worth. And the vase kept on getting filled with river water. You drank the whiskey out of a long bamboo straw in which the bottom of the straw had to stay at the bottom of the vase till another batch was made. Some of the pictures look quite incriminating, but it was innocent and a lot of fun!

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