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Published: February 3rd 2015
well...despite the dusty surrounding, walking still seem not a bad option in Muang Sing, walking allow me more time to look closely whatever behind fence and bush, chance to run into village stupa's day and deity's day. Armed with a local map got name of the villages, together will GPS and google map, I guess I was well equipped. but I had forgot the human factor. one day I stupidy walk inside the sugarcane bush, trying to through a shortcut that shown on the google map but seem not exist in the actual real location, hey...I had GPS, no problem! trail turn to path then...nothing, only wild bush of sugarcane, checked the GPS, the blue dot in line, the right direction in my non-exist field. I told myself "not far" so I kept go ahead, stepping on dead(or alive) branch while squeeze through an unseen path, the more I went further the more thick the bush became, it seem like never ended. I frequenty check the map on my tablet, the blue dot still there but seem like I was moving in a circle instead of going forward. soon I became afriad and nerve, by accident my stumbling finger clicked a
wrong button and the map disappeared. oh my god! only the blue dot still there but no image. I was in the middle of nowhere walled by sugarcane, its saw like leaf already cut wildly on both of my forearm. I was tired by force my way through, it was almost 5 and they sky would be dark by 6. I gonna die there...I gonna die there....repeated wildly inside my head. I shout help and push madly without really look for direction. finally I was stuck by tangle with mess of grass and trunk, dead tire...I gotto stay calm and think, I decided only if I walk in one direction. sooner or later I should get out somewhere...hopefully before dark! well with that in mind...seem easy right! but then I need to squeeze through whatever in front, and it got me cut real bad, actually not too long later I heard human voice.....I was saved!
With no exception...Muang Sing coated heavily in Chinese outfit. much more Chinese owned shops and guesthouses, even with road-sign in Chinese! land turn into agriculture factory for China, truck loaded sugarcane, banana and water melon drove up the border road all through the year.
I saw less costume dressed hilltribe this time. only those same Ahka women shuttle between guesthouse and restaurents, trying to sell their handmade crafts. even in those Yao village not far from China border, I saw only old woman wear costume, mostly because they are trying to sell you their handstitching products. this area seem to be a popular stop for tourists I guess. Superstition and spiritual worship are still alive in villages. the spiritual gate at every entrance of Ahka village, funeral offering hidden inside forest around their village, you could also see many offering by the trail. I saw a ritual in a Hmong village, shaman calling the deity to clean the spirit of a newly couple before their wedding day. the shaman sitting with a cloth over his head, ringing bell and stompping while chanting wildly for a long period, together with a young pig as offering. The tradition wedding season hadn't change, everyday at least one wedding banquet blocked a street corner, or occuplied a sector in a village. decorated in a more swanky way with poster and portrait. again...Chinese influence I guess. I don't know...this time...Laos seem to lost its colour and identity. even the
spell of "saibaidee" has lost its charm to me(quite often it is "saibaidee give kips" !). not much I want to say about this land, just let the images tell its own story.
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