Whiskey in the jar
Pak Ou Travel Blog› entry 32 of 100 › view all entries
January 26th, 2007 – by: jimcowdrill
I wasn't crap at it. Took a little bit of time for me to learn to paddle without shifting my grip on every stroke, and a bit longer before I could manoevre the thing without crashing into other people. But I got there, surprisingly enough. And we paddled downriver. It was fun. The river was fairly fast - too fast to paddle upstream - and there were some very, very easy rapids; the guide bombed around, showing off and splashing people with his paddles. We stopped on a beach to eat a barbecued meal while some local kids gawped at us; a gang of boys were somersaulting into the river, showing off.
Our destination was the Pak Ou caves, but this was a journey-not-the-destination thing. The caves were lit only by sunlight and the flash of westerners' cameras; locals hung round outside selling birds in cages for you to release. It wasn't all that interesting. I'd seen a lot of Buddga images by now.
Paddling on, we reached Pak Ou a small village where a van picked us up. There was time before that to visit a little still where the villagers make rice wine and whiskey for the passing tourist trade. We tried some of this grog, still warm from the still. Not as rough as you'd think. I bought a little bottle of it, wrapped in wicker, which I never did get around to drinking. It just sat in my backpack, leaking very slowly, so that for weeks afterwards every time I put clean clothes in my bag they'd come out smelling of booze.
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