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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Day 2: Beating the Island Heat

LAOS | Saturday, 23 June 2007 | Views [811]

Being the low, rainy season here, we couldn't find enough people to get out in the rafts to tackle the Mekong's class 3 section of river here in Si Phan Don, and tubing wasn't so appealing in the thick, brown, muddy river, so we decided to hire a couple of bicycles for the day to explore our island, and neighboring island Don Khon. It turned out to be our only way to get a bit of breezy air movement as well. We rode through fields of cows, past plummeting waterfalls, across old rickety bridges, wats, spirit houses and women, men and children toiling in their rice fields... but our favorite stops along the way were the one-off mom & pop home-turned-restaurant with a guest house room or two. Most were vacant now, in the low season, so it was fun to get time to visit with a local family, play games with the children and exchange language lessons... for us, Lao words were really tough to get the pronunciation, and tone right, but the response we'd get from our local audience as we'd repeatedly try to get it right, was so worth the effort. We served as highly electrifying entertainment for the locals and at times, we'd find more family members coming out of their huts to get a glimpse of the funny falang trying to speak Lao and play charades to communicate. Our encounters always seemed to end with cheerful farewells and warm wishes for luck in our travels and lots of babies in our future. In fact, the morning of our departure from the island, we had a final breakfast at Mama's and she honored us by giving us both white strings which she tied around our wrists. We learned during our travels in Laos, that some Lao locals are heavily into spirit worship - despite it being banned by the government. This is typically done as protection for a guest, if the person is about to embark on a new project or on a journey away from home. Lao people believing in phii worship (spirit cults), a non-Buddhist belief system, give out these strings in a ceremony they call su khwan or baasli, in which there are 32 khwan (guardian spirits) that are bound to the person or guest by means of the white thread bracelets. You can see them bound to Lao people everywhere you go - adults, children, etc. She told us ours was for safe journey and good luck making many babies. That next time we return, she expects us to bring our baby(ies).

Tags: The Great Outdoors

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