The Land of a Million Elephants is as magical as the name would suggest. Cruising down the Nam Ou river in the shade of the sawtooth mountains, hiking to the hill tribes of Luang Namtha, living the Hmong life in Muang Sing, biking the royal city of Luang Prabang, and celebrating at the Elephant Festival in Sayaboury…Laos wooed us at every turn. The towns can be rough around the edges and god knows they have the scars from the carpet bombings of the Secret War, but despite it all…the people possess a sense of positivity and warmth that’s humbling. Resilient as can be, here are few of the unique ways Laotians get things done and have a little fun.
You know you’re in Laos when…
– Bugaboo is getting into the printing business
– Tribal costumes include traditional Nike socks
– You have the most delicious beer in all of Asia…fact!
– You are welcomed to a guest house with a shot of Lao Lao whiskey (homemade rice wine made more potent with anything from herbs to scorpions).
– A baby brother is the coolest new accessory.
– The backdrop choices for your family portraits are the American dream or Rainbow Bright on acid.
– Roadkill…it’s what’s for dinner.
– You are the most bombed country in history (270 million shells)…and it barely made the news.
– Your $1 bowl of noodle soup is garnished with a farmer’s market worth of vegetables.
– All river towns are full of children skinny dipping, cannon-balling, and laughing pure happiness.
– Tractors are taxis by dusk.
– Being far from the ocean doesn’t stop you from making seaweed…okay, not really, but river-weed is close enough.
– Parades don’t use floats they use pachyderms.