GeoFresher - How to live in Laos
• GeoFresher - How to live in Laos
The first thing that catches the eye in Laos - is poverty. After the Civil War, and which has long been over, the country can not restore the economy. Villagers mainly survive by subsistence farming, urban - thanks to tourists. Prices are higher than in China. Local currency - bp - devalued, 1 dollar is worth about 10 thousand bales.
On the way to the capital of Laos - Vientiane - I stopped in a remote village. Life in it is the same as 200-300 years ago. Wooden houses stand on wooden stilts. Their owners are sleeping on the floor, having spread a mattress. Food cooked on the fire, there is no electricity here. Kitchen is a shed with a thatched roof. great Laotian families - 5-6 people. Restrictions on the number of children in China, not here. During the civil war was lost a significant portion of the male population, so it is often seen in the villages, as one man includes several families.
Young in the countryside is almost gone - all run in the city. The elderly, children and women - the main population of the villages. In the settlement, where I stopped for the night, all the people ran up to look at me.
Children never had to see the "white man", and adults were amazed: in their godforsaken corner was a foreigner? I did not know Lao, had to communicate with gestures. The villagers were friendly and welcoming and immediately offered to taste the traditional village food. The local cuisine is uncomplicated. Entree - sticky rice. To it as a side dish is a simple salad of all kinds of herbs and plant roots. Residents eat meat richer. Often eat snakes and frogs (it comes to remote villages in the jungle). And, if in China as a delicacy to eat only their hind legs large frogs in Laos is prepared and small frogs, completely throwing them in boiling water with the roots. And I must admit, it turns out pretty tasty broth.
I often had to watch as the locals, using a special pipe to smoke tobacco, sometimes in the tube is filled tobacco mixed with hashish. The tube is made of bamboo. Inside filled with water, a side cut a hole where the tobacco is poured. Inhalation of tobacco passes through a water filter. Narcotic effect when there is increased several times. Although all drugs are officially banned by law in the province to smoke hashish even village "mayor". They offered up the phone and I, but I politely declined.
In Laos, there are no good roads. From north to south is gravel road. Only 50 kilometers in front of Vientiane begins "more or less" decent road. While in the mountains, oddly enough, you can find areas of paved road. By the way, in the mountains, I met cyclists. Where they then could take? It turned out to ordinary tourists from Germany, arrived in Laos for the weekend. Many drivers and the locals speak in Russian. In due time they have studied or worked in the Soviet Union, many people in Russia or the former Soviet republics have remained friends, so they are keenly interested in the events taking place there. Stay in Laos for the night - not a problem. Guests are happy to accept, and in Buddhist monasteries, and in the homes of local residents. Each village has a leader - the "authority" of the local community, which is responsible for maintaining order in the country. Selected for its overall gathering. To him it must be handled and about the accommodation and other important issues. He decides to whom you settle. Even if you try yourself to be asked for a halt in the monastery, most likely, you will be allocated to the local "mayor". To him also must be handled in any difficult situation - be sure to help.
After spending a few days on the road, I reached the capital. Vientiane is like a big village. In the city a lot of Buddhist temples and tourists. Especially noticeable presence of foreigners on the waterfront of the Mekong River, which is the state border with Thailand. A few years ago the river was built "Friendship Bridge" - on it goes all the vehicles, next to Thailand. From the center of the bridge - 20 kilometers, but the auto shift it is still considered part of Vientiane.
The capital of Laos - a relatively safe place, but still a walk through dark alleys not recommend at night. In the city center you can often find drug dealers who offer you a "grass", and along with the Laotian girl in the kit. However, from time to time in the evening in the city impose a curfew. By the way, in the country are allowed to carry a firearm, even machines. What to do - the consequences of the Civil War ... After spending the weekend in the capital, I went for a visa at the Thai embassy. No queues, excessive bureaucracy, too. By the way, during the trip, I found a great way to deal with the bureaucracy - to apply their own methods. When I ask for a paper, I give a whole pile of official documents from whom "chinushek" reduces brain. Complexity
one - in each country need to get the local papers.
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