Monday, April 23, 2012

Fried Frogs, Wooden Statues & the Smile of a Child - Around Khon Phapeng Falls

I was walking back to my van from Khon Phapeng Falls when I saw these interesting items being sold at the make shift stores on my way out of the compound and to the car park. From the usual souvenir shirts, there were a few items that caught my attention more. A child was playing with his mother. When I came to say hello, the little one decided it was time to hide from the face of humanity. He went under a large box - and I laughed seeing him in cramped space, suspiciously looking my way. Most Laos children have been anything but bashful. I asked the mother if I could take some photos and she nodded. After a few tries, I finally got several. "Khopchae doeu," I thanked them with a huge smile. I so adore kids. 


I also noticed that they were selling skewered, fried and spiced up frogs. The smell was close to revolting. I could feel the early stages of a reflexive gag. I held my ground. Acquired taste or not, I didn't have intentions of trying this particular local delicacy. No, sir, negative! They look wrinkly, slimy, and anything but delectable.

Nearby, there was a handicraft store that sold wooden cravings depicting tribesmen preparing harvested rice with a wooden log. Some were playing a flute-like instrument, others smoking. Several items were rectangular frames of bas relief. Inviting, but it would be a lot of weight carrying around. I still had a long way to go.

I was the first one back at the van. The others were less conscious of the allotted time. Who says Filipinos are an undisciplined race? By the time everyone was inside the van, I had taken photographs of the shops and consumed a bottle of Coca Cola. I took my seat in front while the elder Frenchies were bunched up at the back, extolling their discoveries for everyone to hear. Did they discover the rocky pavilion? The ride back to Hat Xai Khun was pleasant, relaxing and short. I basked in the luxury of the cool AC.

Back at the jetty of Hat Xai Khun, we further waited for a miracle - our Laos guides weren't fond of telling their guests what to expect, where to wait, which boat to take. We were continuously kept in limbo. They just assumed that people would wait - and we did, eternally discombobulated. Thirty minutes later, we were finally lead to a long boat. I was with more geriatric French people. How fun! LOL

After 5 minutes into the river, the machine choked and refused to start! So our boatman had to paddle us back to a nearby shanty - with people curiously gazing down their porches. We waited for what seemed like half an hour until I gradually noticed the romantic setting of the sun; it's holographic reflection dramatically dipping in gracious tumble. It started creating shadows - enrapturing my sensibilities.

Who says my day was over? Darkness never stopped me before... and there's still sunlight. It was the magic hour - and I had magic spells to cast!

This is the Eye in the Sky

Wooden carvings


Skirts and shirts

Sisavat Restaurant at Khone Pha Phaeng Falls

This was a row of stalls near the wooden lookout pavilion selling root crops.

Root crops

More root crops

Edible fried frogs - Is it really bon apetit? Would you sample one for a Fear Factor spot?

Mother and child as I enveigle for a shot.

There it goes! A smile from the bashful!

This 2 kilometer road back to Route 13 had grazing cows and goats.

Back in Hat Xai Khun where I had to wait for 30 minutes for the boat to take me back to Don Kong. I realized that, in this special trip, I took more time waiting than actually seeing the place I wanted to see!

Boat stalled, machine stopped and people started getting nervous. LOL

People bathing at the Mekong! (above and below)

We were paddled and manually hauled back ashore while we waited for the replacement boat.

People were gazing from their porch.

The gradually setting sun makes dramatic silhouettes at the Mekong in Hat Xai Khun.

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