Published: October 17th 2007September 23rd 2007
Today five of us woke up really early to go to Muang Sing to see the morning maret. I really enjoyed the food market as it was the most different from anything I've seen before. The vegetable market was selling some interesting things that included some sort of noodle jello, Lao popcorn, the biggest bunch of garlic I've ever seen, as well as some Lao vegetables and snacks (that I have no idea how to say in English). There were so many Lao people there with such energy! The majority of the people had on every day street clothes but there are some older women who have beautiful sarongs, wonderful shell bracelets and head coverings that they wear as they walk around and sell them.
I think what really blew me away about the whole trip was the villages that we got to go see. The first village I felt was a bit imposing, the children all started crying at the end because there were too many foreigners there (who they'd never seen before). However I think one really could get the perspective of how Lao people really live in the villages. We got to see the machine that they use to get the rice out early in the morning for the day's meals and the swing that they use at the rice harvesting festival, Wong (our guest house owner who was taking us around) told us that they would sing and dance around the pole as someone swang and they drank whiskey. There was also a sacrificial area at the entrance to the village with sticks in the shapes of guns, bottles and pictures all over them. The machines that the use to farm and weave are so practical and simple they were really great to see. I also enjoyed seeing their school even though I would have liked to know more about their education. Unfortunately the kids made me feel we really shouldn't be there imposing so much.
The second village with the Kokmuang tribe was really great, the people were really inviting and I don't think seeing the foreigners was such a fright for them as the children seemed calm and happy the whole time we were there. They also invited some of our group to lunch, I don't agree with having lunch with the village people unless one were to pay for it but this at least suggested that the village people were very inviting and welcoming.
We also stopped for a brief time at a beautiful Buddhist temple whose outside was very much like Orissan Hindu temples, with the blood and gore pictures to show how the people should stick to the good and no the evil things like adultery or stealing, or else they will be treated like the people in the pictures.
The third and final village we visited was the Tapao which was similar to the second besides the adventurous trip down through a field, in a river and up a slightly steep hill to the village. Also the people were a bit too used to the tourists - they were ready to sell their wares and understood that tourists should pay to take pictures of them (or even in their general direction).