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Beyond Our Conestoga

Hongsa

LAOS | Friday, 26 February 2010 | Views [494] | Comments [1]

So we made it the Hongsa Elephant Festival and had a blast. This small town was full of tourists. But not westerners. ONly a handfull of them really. Mostly Asian tourists. no guesthouses so the organization arranged homestays for people. Our homestay was interesting to say the least. THe man of the house was an elder and as to our observations, was the 'old-crony' leader and maker of the town's lao-lao. All the old men followed him wherever he went. And lao-lao. Let me tell you about Lao-Lao. Not our first experience with it in Laos. It is the local hooch, the homemade liquor, moonshine. Whatever you want to call it. A STRONG rice liquor the locals seem to drink like water. Which isn't to say that means they can handle it like water. And in friendly Lao fashion, any guest is welcomed with Lao-Lao.And welcomed and welcomed.

Actually just tonight an old man dragged us from diner to share some Lao=Lao while he got to practice his English. This was the first non-clear Lao Lao we have had. It's alcohol, right? It will kill anything in it, right? Our first Lao-Lao in Laos was on a boat and the guy that loaded his chickens and pigs on the boat offered us a round. We drank out of the nasty dirty cap of the large plastic bottle. Wahoo.

Back to Elephants. About 40 elephants were at this Festival. They paraded down the streets. Washed in the river. Gave rides, etc. No cages, no gates. They strolled through the crowds. The festival had fireworks and bumber cars and carnival games. THe fun part though was that all these 'traditional Western' festival items were in true Lao fashion. THere was nothing modern or western about them. It was the uniqueness of it all that made it so enjoyable. The fireworks, carried one by one on the backs of men through the crowd. The monk blessed them. And off they went. One I think exploded on the ground and never made it in the air. They aired Horton Hears a Who, in Lao. Fun. Open air screen, special because there are no cinemas in Laos. Watching the kids and locals all laugh at the movie was the best part. I was able to find an elephant bell for sale (a real one, not a tourist small one) and bought it. I am completely intrigued by them. Now to just get it home. To wake up to Elephant bells because Elephants are walking down the (one in town) dirt street is wonderful.

Comments

1

I'm glad you are taking the time to let the rest of know what you are experiencing and where you are at. We look forward to these little openings to another culture. You two are truly becoming "locals" and finding the advantage of being one. Keep the information comming.

  Jim F Feb 26, 2010 11:40 AM

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