April 15, 2007

191206 hairgel chilli & drumming under the stars

Proximity of Muang Sing to China:


CHN CMCC = China Mobile, ETLMNW = Enterprise of Telecommunications Lao...

Hairgel chilli flakes + hot & tasty iron for dinner at Viengxay restaurant:


At Muang Sing guesthouse, which seems to draw plenty of Japanese & Koreans:


Click here or on image below for larger version:


When travelling to developing nations, make good use of the empty luggage space set aside for carting home souvenirs (& the airline baggage weight allowance that you've already paid for in your ticket price)...it can be filled up with old clothes, books, soft toys, etc for donation to local charities, orphanages, schools, etc =)

At precisely 9PM loud drumming & clashing of cymbals brought the cat to the guesthouse rooftop again to investigate. There, it joined Mr Sendai, Mr Belgian 1 (Mr Belgian 2 would appear many days later in Nong Khiaw), & Mrs Guesthouse Owner in watching the novice monks of Wat Sing Jai turn their temple drumming into a jam session of sorts, whacking the drum with glee & giving it their all.

Today was wan dahb (วันดับ lit. day 'switch off' - cute eh? Imagine flicking a switch to turn off the moonlight!), a new moon day in the lunar calendar, which is one of the 4 wan phra (วันพระ Buddhist holy day aka. uposatha day) per lunar month, hence the drumming session. Traditionally, Thai & Lao lay people would visit the temple on these days, & very traditionally even observe 8 precepts instead of the usual 5. (In Singapore, devout Mahayana Buddhists observe 2 of the wan phra - new moon & full moon - by turning vegetarian for the day, leading to longer than usual queues at stalls selling vegetarian food =P)

Mr Sendai & Mr Belgian 1 had both quit electrical engineering jobs in their home countries to travel & see the world. They'd first met while backpacking in Xinjiang, went their separate ways, bumped into each other again in Lhasa, parted again, & crossed paths again in Luang Namtha...& here they were now, sharing a candlelight dinner of noodles cooked (also by candlelight) in a mess tin over a gas burner on the rooftop of a guesthouse in Muang Sing under a black sky sparkling with brilliant stars, with many many bottles of Beer Lao...

Mr Sendai asked if the cat could speak 汉语 han4 yu3, & to write down for him its name in Chinese characters - he had been picking up Chinese on his own during his travels...writing was OK because of similarity with kanji, but speaking was not so OK as tones were a stumbling block =P

Mrs Guesthouse Owner watched, smiling, as her 3 guests chatted around a candle flame in the cold wind about travel, names of stars & constellations, Japanese & Belgian work culture, starting a farm in Bolivia or Brazil, most common Japanese & Belgian first names, deforestation, memorising thousands of Chinese & Japanese characters, etc, all in a language so alien to her...

& then she turned to the cat & told it - in what the cat thinks is Lao - that it was late & she was going to turn in, so please could we help her close the door leading to the rooftop when we were done? & she got the cat to repeat the 'key words' after her a few times, to confirm that the message had gotten through - which the cat did, but in broken Thai...sometime later past 10PM she & the entire neighbourhood must have been shocked awake by the confirmation - a big fat reverberating CLANNNGGGGG - when the guys pulled the heavy metal door shut with all their might =P

end of day 3 (191206):
noodle soup/pho/feu/khaaw soi eaten to date = 02 bowls

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