May 14, 2004

What to title this one?

So many possibilities after today's journey back south to Luang Prabang. Titles for consideration include:

>> "Squeal Like A Pig"
>> "The PETA Rep Would Have Had A Heart Attack"
>> "Kill The Pig, Slit Her Throat, Bash Her In"
>> "This Not-so-Little Piggy Went to Market"
>> "Pigs Decidedly NOT in Zen"
>> "Swine Whine"
>> "Kermit Would Have Been In Anguish"
>> "Four Compelling Reasons To Become A Veg"
>> "The squealing Pig, The Dead Duck and the Chicken Who Traveled the Road"
>> "Are The Pigs Crying Janice?" (a la Hannibal Lecter)
>> "Why Did The Duck Cross The Road Under our 'Bus'?"
>> "The Pig, The Rooster, The Duck and the Unidentified Bag of Slithering Beasties"

The trip back down river started innocently enough. About 15 or so Falangs packed themselves into one of those typically narrow Laos ferry boats along with travel packs, 2 monks and a few locals.

Not surprisingly the "water bus" made a few stops along the way, picking up more Laotians, making the boat even more jam-packed. This mild discomfort was immediately heightened at our next little stop, where we picked up a little girl whose sobs continued in spite of the cajoling of her mother. We soon learned the source of the sorrow: a sow whose time had apparently come. I think Piggy realized this as she refused to go any closer to the boat, in spite of her handler's aggressive poking & prodding.

Losing patience, captain and pig farmer tackled her, hog tied and dragged her on to the boat. The noise she emitted honestly sounded more like screaming than squealing, making the placid little journey -- which was prolonged by no fewer than four more stops -- ever-so-pleasant.

Finally arriving back in Nong Khiaw we were grateful to leave Miss Piggy behind and purchased our tickets to the "bus", which we soon learned was really a pick-up truck with bench seating. The ride, which was again beyond packed, was made a bit more pleasant by our introduction to Willow (a native Californian) and Angela (fellow Midwesterner), as well as our befriended Laos family we'd met two nights prior.

Midway back to Luang Prabang we heard the screech of the brakes (not unlike the swine) followed by a sickening thud. Looking back we saw we had run over a duck crossing the road, who was still alive as evidenced by the flapping of its one good wing.

We proceeded to pick up at least 6 more locals, one of which had brought his rooster (wings tied, placed beak down on the truck bed), one what must have been the majority of his worldly possessions and one with a bag which occasionally made slithering movements.

While we definitely dug our shallow draught of the simple life, I have to admit we were pretty stoked to get back to civilization (i.e. showering in bathroom rather than the Mekong, electricity past 10:30 PM, pork that had already been "processed", etc.).

Taking advantage of the rainy day, we massaged and ate our way back to normalcy (I actually had ribs that night...shame on me I know!).
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