On our first night in LuangPrabang we go to a restaurant named Rosellas. We are drawn to its welcoming white lanterns, its view of the Khan river and the group of guys playing guitars and singing at one of the tables. Our waiter, Deat, is incredibly friendly and speaks impeccable English. Going along with the baw pen nyang (no problem) way of life, Deat waits on us then takes a break to play a song and sip on a beer. He tells us that his cousin Pem, one of the guys playing guitar, owns the restaurant. After the place clears they invite us over to their table. The music is fantastic and they are hilarious. As the night closes they invite us to a soccer game on Friday. We gladly accept their invitation.
Late Thursday night Tyler and Tara had arrived in LuangPrabang. Although exhausted after a twenty four hour bus ride they decide to join us.
We follow Pem and Deat to the school on rented motorbikes.
After the game they start preparing for the food. Deat had already told us that they would be serving goat, so we are mentally prepared. What we are not prepared for is the goats blood being mixed with laolao(rice wine). Pem tells us that it helps with a mans virility. When I ask Deat what it does for women, he shrugs and says.. "Maybe it makes them prettier?"
It is good to know that even one of our Lao hosts, Pem, thinks he needs to hold his nose to get it down.
Having never eaten goat before, we don't really know what to expect. The BBQ goat is pretty tasty.
Even the uncooked congealed goat's blood is not too bad......
The skin and intestine salad is a different story...
I will let this awesome photo series Tara took speak for itself.....
Photo by Goingslowly
Quite a few people at the table have the same look on their faces. I don't think this is everyday Lao fare. Knowing we might still be hungry after some minor nibbling Pem has someone cook us noodles, which I think is very gracious.
After a few Beer Lao the music starts. Pem and Deat both play in the same band and are very musically inclined. Although we don't understand the words, it is impossible not to bob our heads and tap our feet to the beat.
Pete and Tyler are invited to be on a team with Deat to play a game of petang, a game left over from French colonialism. In simplest terms, there's a small metal ball at one end of the court, and you throw larger metal balls towards it; whoever gets the closest wins. It is something of a national passtime. Almost every village we have passed has a petang court.
Pete and Tyler have never played before and are learning the rules in broken English from our new Lao friends. They look a little lost but are a having a great time regardless. After one last throw, they start getting hi-fives and have apparently won; though they have no idea why. I think they have to give Deat most of the credit.
We are enjoying ourselves so much that we could stay all day. A girls petang game is in the works and I know Tara and I could hold our own, but people are becoming more insistent with the Beer Lao and it is getting harder to say no. We decide to start our drive back before we succumb to the pressure.
I have never experienced that kind of generous hospitality from perfect strangers. From meeting Pem on our first night in Lao, to being welcomed into his group of friends and family, we are blown away by the openness and laid back attitude that we've found here. We can't wait to meet more of the friendly Lao people! Thanks guys for one of our most memorable travel days yet.