While you all are freezing...... travel blog

The homestay experience is as opposite to Vietianne as you could possibly get. We stopped in the tiny village of Hin Boun on the banks of some nice river whose name I've forgotten or simply can't pronounce, who knows?. The village itself opens itself up to these type of tourist invasions for the money it provides for the village coffers. We stayed with two families in typical houses of the area. Bamboo and teak house on stilts with two rooms: one for cooking and eating and the other for tv and sleeping, keep in mind this is an extended family living under one roof this could add up to 10 people easily . There are also roosters, ducks and geese running around helter skelter along side the half dressed children unfoot. The first we thing we did after we said hello to our families we went for a boat ride on the nameless river to catch the sunset over the limestone mountains. The boats were made out of unexploded hollowed out American bombs. It fit four people confortably. After the war the US Army came and disarmed the dud bombs and the people cut it in half and used it for fishing boats. Little history for all of you: Laos is the most heavily bombed nation on a per capita basis in the history of warfare. From 1964-1972 1.9 million metric tons fell on Laos. That is 1/2 a ton for every man, woman, and child. Wow.

The temperature in the mountains was cold. Cold like Minnesota in October. We were ill prepared for that type of cold. so it was a bunch of shivering huddled people congregating around fires and beer. Our Laos guide cooked us diiner on a 2 burner wood burning stove contraption. The food was marvelous: stew, sticky rice etc. After dinner it was too cold to hang out so we all retired to our beds which consisted of a mat on the floor draped with mosquito netting. It look like a scene out a picture depicting a tropical quarantine area in the 1900's. We went to bed at 8pm in our clothes. I personally slept well. others not so much. Alot of people got "travelers disease":vomitting, diahrea, chills and headached. Those you who haven't been to South East Asia, let me describe the toilets: You squat over and opeing that may or may not have plumbing. Not fun if you are sick. Knock weood I haven't been visited by that scourge. We got up early and continued on our journey to Vietnam.

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