leaving NK

It's our last day in Nong Khiaw, and we're very sorry to leave. Marc was up early enough to go to the market, and successfully bought four little puffy rice pancakes. When he brought them back to the room, they were still warm and soft and delicious, fragrant with coconut. We bought four more later but they were cold and much less delicious. We also bought a couple of pieces of fried dough -- sopaipillas, beignets, freeform doughnuts, whatever you call it, it's always good.

He also shot a great video of the market, but the file is too big so when I get home I'll edit it and post it.

After breakfast we walked back into town and well before we got to the market -- which is next door to the secondary school -- we heard music over a loudspeaker. We've heard a lot of music here in Nong Khiaw, both recorded and people just singing. As we got closer I realized the music was coming from the school, so we stood and watched the school kids dancing to what we think is traditional music. Their hand movements were graceful, fingers held tightly together and bent slightly backward, thumb folded into the palm, hands swaying up and across, and down, coordinated with simple foot movements. Boys and girls were both dancing, and some kids were giggling and goofing around a bit, and some girls were serious about it -- just like school kids everywhere.

The street was quite crowded with kids, more than we'd ever seen here. We have no idea where they all came from, and we didn't know why they were so thick in the street. As we were watching the dancers, I saw a young teenage boy pass by with a scythe on a long bamboo handle, and thought that was a little strange. We'd also passed crowds of kids, some of whom held brooms and most held long sticks. When we noticed that some were dragging big bags of trash, we decided it must be a day when the kids clean up the town.

very busy main street this morning
And sure enough, we turned to walk along the river, behind the main street, and came upon huge crowds of kids -- most were watching, but some were hacking at the vegetation, clearing it away. There were fires burning here and there. Some kids were looking at cell phones, some were chattering, some watched us but most ignored us, and the teachers watched from a distance. I couldn't figure out how they decided where to clear vegetation; it seemed almost random. But then again, it seemed almost random that anyone did anything, because most were just standing around.

some work going on, but lots of talking
It's very hard to leave this beautiful town. Very hard. The Mandala Ou, where we're staying, will be for sale in a couple of years. Nick moved here and built the place with the intention of selling it. It's already booked for a year ahead, and it's top rated on TripAdvisor, so we lightly entertain the fantasy of buying it and living here. It's very strange to find myself sad to leave for Luang Prabang, a place I dearly love.

both flags fly everywhere -- Laos, and hammer and sickle

a beautiful house on main street

one last walk by the Nam Ou, with a wistful heart
another beautiful house -- flowers, a satellite dish, and chickens.

the poorer part of town
O how we will miss this place. We'll be back.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Yes! Buy and live in The Mandala Ou...and I'll come and be one of your guests! I love your description of the kids doing cleanup - some on their mobile phones, some doing things, others chatting...just like a group of teenagers anywhere!


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