Saturday, May 30, 2009

20-21 May – Muang Sing, Laos

We have become fascinated by all the hill tribes. To learn more, and to visit more villages, we drove to Muang Sing in the very northwestern corner of Laos. Unfortunately, the deforestation in Laos is quite bad. The tropical forests are cleared, the timber sold to the Chinese. Slash and burn agriculture is widely practiced. Most of the original forests will be gone very soon.
We camped in a beautiful spot, very close to the Chinese border. We even checked if we were allowed a quick tour into China, but only locals were allowed to use this border. We looked across the border into China. Another time...
We visited an Akha village by foot from where we camped. The Akha always seem to be poorer than the rest. There were children everywhere, keen to get a glimpse of the unusual visitors.
Some women were showing embroidered bracelets, while making sure we got a glimpse of the much more potent merchandise they were hiding in their bags – the big O.
In a Yao village a bit further away, the older women were dressed traditionally in their colorful vests and hats. While they were trying to make some money, selling hand made souvenirs to us, their incapacitated men were smoking opium in a corner.
A visit to another village was effectively blocked. We enjoyed a traditional Lao dinner instead. The sun was setting behind the mountains. People were returning home from the rice paddies. The fire flies were starting their entertaining show in the dark. We are really enjoying Laos.

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