May 06, 2007

221206 west Phongsaly

Museum of Tribe & library:


The provincial tourism office insisted that the museum was open. A little primary school girl who walks by the museum on her way to class every school day insisted that '没开,它不开的!' (not open, it does not open). Trust kids to be so brilliant at stating the facts plainly ;)

Cute thing was how the little girl speaks perfect Mandarin without any hint of an accent, much like a China Central Television newscaster, & very much unlike every single other Chinese that the cat met in North Lao. A welcome break from deciphering thick regional Chinese accents, which reminded the cat too much of its workplace & university hostel days back in Singapore.

Hornbills in Phongsaly?


After a couple of days of road travel by second- & third-hand vehicles, the cat started to wonder if Lao could ever bear to scrap any vehicle. The cat even heard of a bus driver who sounded his horn by asking a passenger to bring together the frayed ends of two wires to touch. What Lao consider unroadworthy:


From 勐腊县 Mengla county in 西双版纳 Xishuangbanna (Sipsongpanna):


Sitting among the vehicles enjoying the sunshine was an old lady. Some might see an eyesore in this vehicle graveyard. Others will see insurance & savings in the form of a safe (compared to UXO) source of scrap metal that can be sold piece by piece to dealers as & when an urgent need for cash arises :)

This is so out of a Chinese period drama:


拿酒来! (Bring the wine!):


Marche du Phongsaly:


Marche is one of the few French words the cat can understand, because of Marche restaurant in Singapore. For some reason the cat didn't venture in to explore until the next morning, when in search of something to eat on the Hat Sa-Muang Khua boat, & now it wishes that it had spent more time here. Markets give an instant overview of local lifestyle, a snapshot of what locals eat, drink, wear, use, & value.

When reading a cat's travelog, you have to put up with photos of its relatives:


Continuing past the stadium in the direction of the bus station, the cat took a random turn-off into a side lane. It led past a huge kindergarten (the nicest school facilities the cat had seen in Lao so far) with a field full of screaming tots, through a residential area, up a hill, & right smack into a military base with many friendly & puzzled soldiers curious to know who the cat was!

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