Sunday Mar 3rd tour on the Bolavan Plateau 8am-6pm
Last night was sooooo hot , was not much sleep had and just as well we had an easy day being driven around. We had no energy for biking but it did feel weird to travel so quickly in the van. Our guide, Kinoy was very humorous, and loved joking around with Pete. He is from one of the villages we visited, he moved to Pakse 4 yrs ago when he was 18yrs to work with tourists to learn English, and of course he speaks a little german and french too. He works 6 days week at sabaidy 2 and ‘never gets a holiday’, he’s always smiling and he’s made it a fun place to stay. We paid $23 US each for the tour, and well worth it even though the small family operated, tea and coffee plantations were not currently working and the waterfalls still impressive in the dry season. Katu village is where it is the tradition to keep coffins at the ready, under the houses. Coffins used to be elaborately carved out tree trunks but these days are cast concrete boxes. A school and library is sponsored in this village by Mr Vong who owns Saibaidy 2 and funds from Belgium. We met Sarah, about 24yrs, from Belgium currently volunteering at the school. Paxouam Cliff Ethnic village was quite touristic but at 4pm on a Sunday we were about the only tourists, so that made it more bearable. Nickie bought 2 pieces of weaving after watching a teenage girl work on a loom that she stretched over her legs, while long-sitting on the ground, she looked really uncomfortable and we heard her yahooing when she was allowed to finish her demonstration to us, we were the last tourists for the day. A few ladies had stretched earlobes, with large wooden discs inserted, and they were dressed traditionally, but it just felt awkward to ask to photograph them , even though we presume they volunteer to live/work in this “ethnic village”. We all felt more comfortable making many photos of the pigs, cats and chickens instead. The Animist belief people may also believe that their souls will be weakened and they could get sick if they are photographed. We dined again with Luke and Christian who cycle onto Vietnam tomorrow. The temp is much cooler tonight so we hope to sleep well.