28th October to 3rd November, 2013
Share the Wealth
In general despite the advise of many, we do not take the same tuk tuk driver each time we go out – sometimes to our peril. We eat at lots of places all around town and buy from many shops. We generally have a policy of sharing the wealth. That is contributing to as many small local businesses as possible. Of course, when you stay somewhere for a long time and become fond of people or meet locals who give you something extra special. Some things demand a repeat performance, again… and again. One of these is our local Lao restaurant.
“The Fat Dog” Restaurant
We have eaten all over Luang Prabang but the area closest to our hearts is in the area we call home – Ban Vat Sen. In a little side street there is a little local restaurant we love, not just because the food is local and good – which it is, but because of the warmth and hospitality of the family who runs it. Most small local places don’t have their name in English. You basically sit in the families lounge room and their girls watch TV, whilst mum cooks. Sometimes grandma strolls in. There are always locals stopping by for take away and students stopping by after classes. They have a small low table, with little chairs, perfect for the boys and a cold water dispenser – heavenly on a warm day. We are often there when the “How to Train a Dragon” TV series is on, which has a little to do with it being the boys favourite place to eat. At first the lady who runs it just dished out our meals but as we returned again and again, she started to smile and chat. Now it’s, “I gave the boys a bit extra” or “special for you”. (Once we saw her single-handedly killing a snake using firewood and a cooking spatula).The family also has a cute pet dog, named Kitty. It has obviously benefited from scraps and can beg on it’s hind legs. As a result the dowey eyed canine has a weight problem. So one day, Lucas started calling the place “The Fat Dog” restaurant. I am afraid the name has stuck. Now many an evening we ask the boys where they would like to eat and the answer comes back in unison, “The Fat Dog”.
Another place we have been to a few times, we call “The Shipwreck Cafe”, due to a nearby sunken ship. There is also the local “Noodle Lady” – although she has become the “Nam Leung” (Lao Omelette) lady nowadays. We have a new “Noodle lady” who sells in front of the primary school (but you will have to be there before 8.30am if you want noodles. Otherwise it’s papaya salad for you).
The list goes on…
It’s been a while since the boys have had a haircut. So it was that Graham set out after our weekly breakfast at OPT to get their hair cut. Near the Pousi markets he found an old fashioned barber with a cool chair and went ahead. Unfortunately the result was pretty terrible. Probably mainly due to the barber speaking no English and Graham speaking no Lao. Super short around the edges, far too long on top.
So after a week of enduring these terrible cuts it was off to the hairdressers again. This time a salon with a lady who spoke a little English. The result – we have our handsome boys back.
The Abbot’s Funeral
When Graham and boys were returning from the Baguette ladies and I was on my way to teaching at Vat Nong OPT, we all got caught up in the Abbot’s funeral. It was quite a spectacle. The abbot of Wat Ho Pho Bang was also a former governor of Luang Prabang. He had a huge processional send off.
Luang Prabang Heritage Fair
Before the dance performance began we enjoyed the fun fair. There were two of the biggest bouncy castles we had ever seen – Chinese made of course. So whilst the boys spent an hour bouncing, I went hunting and gathering for food. I came back with leaf wrapped mouthfuls, egg roti with condensed milk, pork buns and a bag of boiled quail eggs. I was content to have a picnic on the ground but Graham insisted we get a table and chair for 5000kip each. So we watched the show in style.
Halloween in Laung Prabang
Note: We don’t normally celebrate Halloween in Australia, although there is usually some school based activities.
Through Couchsurfing, I got in touch with a Canadian expat Sam. She told us the route of the children’s trick or treat that was being organised by the expat community and shops in town. So it was with masks (the boys made and coloured) and costumes from wrapping paper we all set off for some Halloween fun. After some earlier miscommunication the boys were joined by a group of about twenty other kids and the fun began. The route ran along the Nam Khan towards the tip of the peninsular and back along the main street. There was lots of treating, a tiny bit of tricking and even some apple bobbing. Our boys had a grand time as you can see.
We were kindly invited to two OPT functions this week. One a promotional shin dig for travel agents and hotels and another a private party for Steven. The later was at the much talked about “Secret Pizza”. It is basically in the backyard of a private residence, deep in the suburbs down a long, unlit, dirt lane. So now it’s not a secret… well not for us.
Lunch with the Bishop