May 12, 2004

At least they're functional

Today we made our way about an hour north to Muang Ngoi Neua, an even more rustic town than its southern predecessor, enjoying the benefits of electricity from 6PM - 10:30PM (on most days!).

On the way up river I treated the ferryman's son to a little music, courtesy of my rather pricey (but proving worthwhile) i-pod. We've witnessed a fair amount of what I would consider child labor -- more so than other countries -- so it's nice to offer a bit of fun to the kids: something that grabs or possibly even inspires a bit-o-imagination. I played young Nang some Zero 7, Beatles, Parliament, Blackalicious, Built to Spill, Leftfield and Morcheeba. Though it's tough to know for sure, I think Parliament was his fave:

Jim corrupting the Laos youth :-). Steve Jobs owes me an endorsement fee!

The further north / east we journeyed, the more apparent the effects of the "Secret War". In town we saw bomb shells and casings used as flower pots, fence posts and even supports for homes:

A handy bomb identifier placed next to the specials at the restaurant we ate at

Muang Ngoi Neua's locals are just as friendly, if not more so than the towns downriver and the scenery even more dramatic. The pace is definitely s-l-o-w-e-r as well, with most meals taking the better part of an hour (or more!) to prepare. Not like we were in a hurry or anything ;-)
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