Today is BBQ day at LPB backpacker hostel. Shampoo is always finding new ideas to animate the living of its residents. We start by going to the public rmarket to buy the necessary with the hotel truck. The market is typically Lao. At the bottom of a dusty street, there are a lot of food placed on the floor on a mat or on simple tables. The all-purpose products like soap are living near exotic products from the jungle like rats, lizards, a pig cut in two ready to be slaughter to amazing differents fruits and fresh vegetables. You really have to visit the public market of a city and especially in Asia to understand its cultures and its culture. Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are. The Lao eat healthy and spicy. They also eat everything that living and completely but no dogs and cats dogs and cats. The legs of chicken, beef stomach, grilled BBQ chicken heart, dried squid and a myriad of specialty drinks like sugar cane juice and corn juice served in a bag.We prepare all the meal with the family. Some Lao style kebabs with pork, beef, pineapple, tomatoes and hot pepper in a sour sausage. Cooked on a small metal grill filled with charcoal, which acts as a kitchen oven for most Lao families . This colorful dinner was filled with several languages, including Russian, English, German and Lao. It was a success of diverse culture sharing.
Today shampoo excels again and decided to invite us to a fishing trip and a picnic in the countryside of Luang Prabang. 15 happy travelers go inside the LPB mobile to go shopping at market to buy our ingredients for our future fish. A cheap $ 3 or 25,000 kips is enough for pay the whole meal and some beer. Shampoo not believe in our chances of catching our meals so we buy a dozen fish at market. Here you cannot sell a frozen fish or packed one nobody will buy it. The fish store woman catch the fish in front of us in the pool and stunning all of them. They weigh the scales and empty them at lightning speed. Believing she work with sharp object I realise it was just an Asian Metal soup spoon.
A 35 minutes ride in the green countryside of Luang Prabang and we finally arriving at fishing and tubing site. In fact, it’s the farm of the father of one hotel. A simple house with lime trees, coconut, chili and many other crops used for Lao food. The rain started to fall but shampoo greeting the troops by serving them a nice cold Beerlao. The rain does not stop the enthusiasm of passengers, because the river will be wet anyway and viva the adventure. I find myself confined to the kitchen, because there’s not enough tubes for everyone and I was tubing on several occasions already. I am left with two workers and uncle Lao to watch the beer and cooking 🙂 I learn to cook the Lao traditional bbq fish. Washed the salad, wash the mint, wash the basil, cut the cucumbers, tomatoes, carambola and various condiments that accompany the fish.
Fish is salted with coarse salt, we inserts branches of fresh lemongrass in the stomach and they are ready for cooking. The adventurers are back from the river the rain stopped and we are ready to eat. the process is simple takes a large lettuce leaf adding anything we want from a condiment tray add some fish and the dip it generously in hot sauce. Tom the happy Australian start a chili eater Competition, I have no choice to participate. All goes well for the first 5 minutes, but the tears running down my cheeks. I could not hide that inside the fire has invaded my stomach.
on the way return to the house, police stop our truck for a control, his friends of Mr. Shampoo. They say there are many Falang (stranger) in your truck. Next time, bring us six beers to pay your passage if you like to pass free again. Corruption is cheap in this country. Russian Dima takes a series of pictures of the scene, but we told him to stop this is not really the time. You never know with these kind of things is better to not try at all.
I found a way to stay here for free for making a website for the future trekking company of my host. The work will not be very lucrative, but at least it does not cost me anything and I also may have a little job on my return in 6 months. http://www.southasiabackpackers.com
I learn a few Russian with Dimitry until Tiger Trail offers me a free trek to visit the countryside. I should wait for a group that I can join to justify my presence. Finally, they confirmed a trek for tomorrow … it’s the party and I try to stay calm, but they try to make me drink big glass of Lao whiskey …
This post is also available in: French