Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Simple Life

Such a grand thing. No electricity. No traffic. No plumbing. No worries.
Don Det is where the simple life is the only way of life.

It was great being in a place that ran on daylight hours. The locals got up with the sun and if they didn't have a restaurant, went to bed not long after the sun went down. At our guesthouse the generator was run from sunset til about 2230. It was pure heaven. We stayed at Mr Tho's Bungalows. Four bungalows on a bank of the Mekong. Hammocks provided. Relaxation assured. A restaurant on hand whenever one felt the hunger pangs get the better of them.
Ning (Mr Tho's daughter) was in charge although it was a family affair; her hubby and brothers helping out, her young son providing entertainment and her elderly aunty picking up the slack. As in Vietnam though, it appeared that the women were the only ones who did any real work, the men preferring to watch the back of their eyelids, or pilot the boat to and fro. I'm sure they did more but I personally was not privvy to it.

So our typical day went thus... Waking up with the rooster. Maybe getting up for the sunrise or just going back to sleep. Hearing the locals head off to market in their boats at about 630am. The temple accross the river donging its bell for morning prayer. Breakfast whenever you decided now was the time. Lazing in the hammocks on the verandah of your bungalow. Reading books. Watching the world float by. Taking a dip in the Mekong when you got too hot. Maybe occasionally heading out to explore. Appreciating that apart from the odd tour van the only thing resembling a traffic jam was a water buffalo who stubbornly refused to move til he/she was good and ready. And the heaviest traffic being said buffalo.

I took time out from hammock appreciation to check out Buddhism Lao style by participating in the local temple's morning prayer (and having my preconceptions about Buddhist monks being quickly dispatched). These monks weren't vegetarian, they quite happily chucked a cat around when it was searching for tidbits from the brekkie table and they weren't sombre during what I assumed was prayer. The young fullas (there were only seven monks in this temple with an approximate median age of 20ish) were smiling and laughing throughout. Made quite a difference from the few "Church Parade" experiences I had as a young Brownie which were a sombre affair. So a condensed version of a morning at the temple: prayer, offerings from worshippers (breakfast), chillin' while the monks eat, prayer, finish. Quite a relaxing morning of worship and a bit of an eye opener for a heathen such as myself. Throughly enjoyed it!

So other than this one dalliance from the usual, we spent 11 nights in the aforementioned do-nothing manner.
7 books read. Hammocks well used. Many swims taken. Many a beer consumed. USD5 a day. Total.


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