Monday, September 27, 2010

Ban Fifty-Two - September 27th, 2010

Ban Fifty-Two

On Sunday Marie-Do and the kids had to go to Thailand to renew their Lao visas and do some shopping.

So I took the motorbike and went to Ban Fifty-Two.

The day began in an interesting way. That night I had less than little sleep. I awoke at around 1 A.M., aroused by a nightmare of being put under a spell by some sort of tribal shaman in the hill jungles of a nameless South East Asian country. All around me were beating drums and painted faces. I was surrounded by the non-personality of primitive group movements, the identity suck most feared by us Western individualists.

Maybe a sleepless night after a dream like that was not the best basis for a motorbike trip to a tribal area, but I did it anyway.

Unlike H’mong villages in Vietnam, this one was not in the mountains. And also unlike Vietnam, none of the H’mong wore traditional H’mong dress.

But I was still able to admire a typical village and see once again what life used to look like all over planet Earth.

The road out was pretty awful, but not nearly as bad as leaving Hanoi – Lao drivers are courteous and silent, but the roads are bad and the villages have no esthetic value.

The name of the village, Ban 52, says it all. It refers to its position at 52 clicks from Vientiane. Names like this are usually give in Asia to restaurants or hotels. The entire village seems to have grown there as an afterthought or a consolation prize.

On the way I was able to stop in a Vat for a snooze and so was able to continue somewhat refreshed.

In the garden of another Vat a bomb shell from the war was used as a bell to call the monks to prayer. And then you remember: yes, they used to bomb these people.

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