I loved Laos and her people. It made a huge impression on me and I missed it for many years after.
I consider myself a citizen of this great Earth. I have traveled a good amount (I was born in the Congo, hold a Belgian passport, currently reside part of the year in Dallas and the other half of the year in France) and Laos remains my favorite. I plan to return for the first time since my teen years; this December, with my wife and daughter.
For a short while, before we left, I had a job at the horse stables. The stables were for the American kids, located just outside K-6, on the dirt path to the right of the entrance. The job consisted of going to the stables at dusk and checking that all the horses were in their stalls and unlocking the feed storage shack. During the day, there were several Lao men that took the horses out to graze. One of the men lived in a shack on the opposite side of the dirt road. The Lao men always invited me for dinner and it was always the same menu: sticky rice, papaya salad, a single piece of gristle, and a puddle of spicy red greasy stuff. All the food was set on top of a communal plate on the floor.
I never grew tired of it.
You’d make a little ball with your rice and dip it in the grease. It was delicious. In retrospect, their generosity always amazed me. They had nothing, and yet, they shared with a rich “falang” (foreigner), every day.
We left Laos in 1973. I still think about them to this day.
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