Laos – Huay Bo Village

12/06/14

I had the breakfast buffet again which was nice and filling, and then set off to find Huay Bo Village. I had read online that there was a guesthouse there which we could stay at, and on wikipedia there was a set of directions.

First we had to walk up to the Tham Kang Cave, which is another cave where locals hid during the bombings. You have to pay 10,000K to get in and it’s not too large inside, unless I missed a whole area, I creeped myself out as there was the sound of water and I swear I could hear singing too. It still amazes me that people had to hide in these caves, to just sit and wait out the millions of bombs being dropped must have been just horrendous, inside there’s remnants of bowls and straw that people used. I didn’t spend too long in the cave, it was pretty dark and I didn’t feel like my phones torch was doing much.

It took around 20 minutes to get to the cave and to get to the village the instructions said that after about 8 minutes I’d pass a bamboo grove and then there would be a small path to take. When I saw girl come out of the path I asked where she’d been and she said she came across water and a rice field, which is what I was looking for! There was also a sign hidden in the bush which had an arrow to the village.

In my directions it says to cross a small stream and then keep to the right of the rice field. I crossed what I thought was a stream and headed right on the rice field, as I was walking I was aware that I was making my way back to the path I’d just come off, and realised I was probably going the wrong way. I asked a nice farmer who had surprisingly good English about where the village was, and he confirmed I’d been going back on myself. When I finally got back on the same small path, I crossed the ‘stream’ again and then realised to my left was more water, and most likely would be the actual stream I was looking to cross. Another local confirmed it to me, and I took my shoes off to wade through, it wasn’t deep but seriously muddy.

Once across I came across another rice field, but knew this one was correct, an kept to the far right path. As I was walking across I noticed the river next to me, and knowing I had to cross it at some point, asked another local if I was going in the right way. Again I was about to cross at the wrong place and he pointed further up the field. So I kept walking for another 5 mins, and then saw a yellow sign pointing to the village and there was a log bridge to cross, which was written in the directions. I knew then I was close and once I had shuffled across the one log bridge I knew I had to reach the end of this path to get to the village.

At the village I saw the sign to Konsavan Guesthouse and wandered through all the houses and happily I had finally found it! A lovely woman took our order for lunch and then I was able to chill. I actually felt really ill from being in the sun for so long so I took it easy and sat down for some time, it had taken me around 2.5 hours to get there and it was boiling hot. For lunch I had ordered pumpkin soup, and what came was slices of pumpkin in boiling water, it really amused me and luckily was really delicious pumpkin!

That afternoon I tried to join in with the kids games, there was one where you had to run past them without being caught but they captors were standing in a specific place, and I was supposed to run a certain way through them. They were really cute and kept telling me off for standing in the wrong place. Afterwards they played a different game where they had to hum or keep their mouth closed as they ran to the boys or the girls to free the prisoners and try not to be captured. It seemed a little too rough considering I felt ill so I kept out of it, but I really enjoyed watching kids be kids. I loved that it was a community here and everyone knew everyone, and all the kids played together which we don’t really have in the UK anymore.

I was then shown my room and the bathroom, both really basic but all I needed. The room cost 10,000 (£1) for the night and that’s for 2 people too! It’s just a room with a mattress and mosqito net, basic essentials. The bathroom the same, a hose for the shower and a squat toilet, it all seemed really clean and I was really content with it. Once I had dropped all my stuff off, the host mum Gee showed me her weaving work, and I was so impressed. I bought a scarf as a gift and had to really hold back from buying a blanket which had taken her a month to make, all completely hand woven. It’s just all so impressive but I’m too much of magpie and had to say no to the blanket.

For dinner we sat under one light bulb as they don’t have much electricity here (and no wifi), and had sticky rice, bamboo and deer. I thought this meal was just delicious, the deer tasted of spiced beef and the bamboo had a really yum sauce on it. It was nice to sit with the hosts and talk to them about daily life. They told me that they had set up this guesthouse 15 years ago so Gee wouldn’t have to work on the rice field anymore, and the owner had set up a generator in the river so he could have power. I asked if the village minded having tourists visit, but they said no as the tourists have helped to provide furniture for the school and are working towards a water tank so they have more clean water available.

It was really nice to know that us foreigners weren’t just exploiting a small village for our thirst to “get away” but were actually helping. The couple here seem so sweet and I was really excited to spend another day with them tomorrow. I was still feeling a bit crap, so I went to bed around 9, but it was pitch black and no lights anywhere so didn’t feel too lame ha.

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