Saibaydee (Lao hello), my dear readers! I’m traveling now in the simply beautiful Laos and I decided to write an article about how I found Laos so far.
I came to Laos by bus from Vietnam and we noticed the first change of scenery when the wheel of the bus exploded 30 minutes after we crossed the border. Laos will welcome you with a not so developed infrastructure, many villages, a lot of wild beautiful nature and very kind, shy people. Laos is an authentic land, you could see the reality of the country even in touristic places. It’s one of the poorest countries in South-East Asia but with one of the most smiling people.
My first part of traveling was about connecting with locals. I had the chance to meet one amazing girl, Phaivan, that gave the chance to explore parts of Laos that are not touristic. There I was the only “falang”, by the way, you’ll hear many times this word when you’ll come to Laos. They used it firstly to talk about the french people, in time “falang” started to be used for all the foreigners, eeeei not all, to respect an expression of a Lao friend: “white men with a big nose”?.
After getting used to this word, I became to say about myself that I’m falang as a method to break the ice when I was meeting locals. Every time they are laughing of this. Lao people are very shy and spiritual when they salute you they bow with hands pressed together at the chest in a nop. In the villages, sometimes they bow so low that you don’t see their faces. They smile with all their face and heart especially when they hear some Lao words from foreigners.
I had the chance to go to a village to meet the grandparents of Phaivan. You feel the time has a different rhythm in rural life… People are more connected with each other and with themselves. You see in front of their houses hammocks or places to relax outside close to the road to see their neighbors and the other people passing by. Imagine their faces when they see a falang walking on the street… Still, I was welcomed very well with kindness, shyness, and curiosity.
I had the chance to ride the “Iron Buffalo” – the two-wheel tractor used by the Lao villagers in agriculture. I was grateful to eat and talk with them using my poor Lao vocabulary: Saibaidee, Khop Chai (Thank you), Doi (yes / indeed), Khaw Toot (Excuse-me).
Of course, I found the matchmaker that promised to marry me with a nice man. It seems I need to come back to continue this discussion because it wasn’t finalized but things are moving fast in this direction?.
What could I wish more? Beautiful people, good food, seeing new customs and finding my husband. Laos is real, I love it!