The night of our return from the jungle, as we made merry with Beer Lao at the markets, Sevone excused himself for an early night and the four of us, Alack, Caroline and us two continued with telling tales of different cultures and making cheers with our glasses. We were soon joined by a very drunk young french guy who had had his first taste of Lao Lao earlier that night. Soon the drunkening was spreading and the thought of a soft mattress to ease our aching bones was too good, but before our goodbyes and goodnights Alack invited us to meet up in the morning and go to his house for breakfast. An offer we were delighted to take.
Morning came as usual and we repeated our getting up routine before meeting the gang out front. Alack, with his energetic smile, seemed excited with todays plan as he took us to a shop to hire bicycles explaining that his house is 6 km out of town with a stop at the markets for supplies on the way. Emmily’s legs shook with fear at the mention of more physical work, but were soon placated with the slow and easy pace set by Alack as we lazily road past the rice fields and neighbourhoods along the ever straight and flat road out of town.
Stopping at a few local farmers markets, yummy vegetables, eggs, herbs and coffee were collected. Soon a temple was spotted on the side of the road and Alack veered to the opposite side where a collection of little houses on stilts stood. Chickens scattered as we came to a stop and parked our bikes under one of the houses. Alack, like many Laos people, lives with his whole family. They have a property with chickens and a small garden and two houses on stilts. Alack lives in one with his brother, sister in law and their children and his parents live in the other house with his sister and other relatives. They all cook and eat together and use this time to talk about their days, air grievances, ask for advise and to simply spend time together.
The stove was a small concrete bucket with room for only a wok or frying pan to sit on top. A giant bunch of chillies hang drying above it with most of the kitchen utensils hanging around the thatched walls. Alack and his sisters showed us how they cook and prepared breakfast and let us in on the secret ingredient to making fantastic omelet. We all sat together and ate, sticky rice in fingers and a feast to stuff yourself silly. Alack poured us glasses of beer Lao that we couldn’t refuse as it was the only time we could make cheers with his sisters. A little Lao Lao for good measure was also consumed. After the food we had a quick tour of the temple, Alack had been a novice monk as most young men do to become of age, and said goodbye to his family before heading back to town. That evening we planed to eat together again, Caroline and the two of us went in search of gifts for all the generosity that was shown us by Lack and his family. More merry-making was made into the night with sad goodbyes to our new Lao friend with promises of keeping in contact and to visit in future
The end of Laos was upon us and we were sad to leave it behind. A lovely culture, friendly and welcoming, and some amazing scenery to match. We caught a bus with Caroline to the town bordering Thailand and parted ways with yet another bitter sweet goodbye.