Muang Noy Travel Blog› entry 44 of 49 › view all entries
July 25th, 2006 – by: umbralwalker
Moung Noy is a small village with a population of about 700. There are no motorized land vehicles and the closest road is an hour long boat ride down river. This is a place where people still live in bamboo huts with dirt floors and chickens are free to roam about the house under your feet. The women still awaken before dawn to begin preparing sticky rice and noodle soup which they will take to the streets and kneel before the monks, offering sustenance in exchange for a blessing. Although there are signs that tourism has arrived, 1 dollar bungalows that line the river and small shops selling packets of Oreos and bottled water, the place has not yet lost its magic.
The town was once home to three wats, but American bombs (apparently from Vietnam-era conflicts) left only one standing.Many bombs are scattered throughout the town, on display seemingly so that no one will forget what happened. But how can they? So many loved ones lost their lives--my friend Saang lost his uncle. I was amazed how welcoming they were to me considering the carnage my government caused in their land. Some of the kids in the village had a hard time remembering my name, so to get my attention they would yell "Hey America" or "Hey California", it was therefore inevitable that everybody knew where I came from. But it didn't matter to them. I was even welcomed into the home of the high chief where we shared Lao beer and sticky rice.
Lao Lao, the country's infamous moonshine rice whiskey, is a popular pass time in the village. In fact, other than fishing, football, and making babies, there really isn't any other pass time. If you are going to spend any significant amount of time in a Laos home, you are guaranteed to get drunk off Lao Lao. Oi, how it burns going down, and if you dare to take a breath immediately after a gulp the vapors will sear your lungs. The people here have quite the romance with this fiery brew and are overly generous with the pouring of it. It is rude to say no.
The people, scenery, food, and fellow backpackers made my visit to Moung Noy one of the highlights of my trip. It was hard to say goodbye, but I must move on to the next adventure.
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