The Lao village dance dances justifies a detailed description: men form an inner circle facing their female dance partner in the outer circle. There is no physical contact, nor eye contact. Surprisingly, the same song was played over and over and over again. Each time the song came up (1 out of 2 songs) an elderly bacherlorette was pushed towards me by family and friends. Leading to an awkward situation for both her and the guy who can’t dance Lao style (me).
This village has no access to electricity (an oversized lawnmower functioned as generator for the massive sound system), there are no stone houses and hasnt got any roads.
The previous day I had already noticed some of the benefits of being so removed from civilization: no shops mean no plastic waste. All the food waste is quickly eaten by the dogs/pigs/chicken/ducks (whoever arrives first). People collect their food literally from the forest around them, and meat for dinner is a reason for celebration (or the other way round).
Such a tightly nit place comes with other benefits: no shame nor secrets. All kids under the age of 8 walk around naked and village people shower together (men and women separate) at the public shower in center of town. Cautiously, one of the English villagers speaking villagers I had ran into asked whether I didn’t shower. When I explained that I preferred showering in the morning, he nodded understandingly. Only the following day I understood his wonder: the outside temperature when i showered was 20 degrees lower and the water even colder. I should have known.
I had stayed a second night and that morning a villager explained me a different route to Udumxai. This insider’s route got me back in two hours (despite the light rain of that evening) and nearly without effort. Except for the time when my rear wheel fell between two bamboo poles that were part of a ‘bridge’ across a stream.
All in all, an experience I won’t easily forget…