And I am staying here

20 Feb

The hole in my back from the too heavy backpack

The hole in my back from the too heavy backpack

Muang Ngoi Neua is simply paradise. I was a bit ill when I arrived (probably a flue, hopefully not the birdy type) so I needed to take care of me. And it’s at the end of the street that I found a massage place and herbal sauna run by a Scandinavian that speaks perfectly Lao (horizontal teaching I assume? The best way to learn a language ;-). I went in to give myself and my damaged back a treat – 40000 Kip (4 euro) for an hour of healing hands is a great investment.

But Muang Ngoi is full of little pleasant surprises and surprising pleasures. The other day I sat down at a little open air restaurant, under a shady parasol and ordered a banana pancake. Ok said the woman who took my order, and she went back the kitchen to prepare. Next thing I heard her chopping wood into smaller splints to light a fire, a bit later I hear her breaking the eggs, beating the dough,… How much fresher and home-made can your pancakes be?

Yummy Falang Rolls - sushi but sweet - for the travellers

Yummy Falang Rolls - sushi but sweet - for the travellers

One of the little open air restaurants here does “Falang rolls” (thank you Lonely Planet for pointing it out, otherwise I would have never discovered it). It is a bit like maki sushi (rolls)… but instead of the tuna or salmon inside, it has banana. Replace the wasabi with peanut-butter. Use sticky rice boiled in coconut milk and honey to wrap around it and sprinkle with sesame seeds instead of nori (algae). This is divine for breakfast! However when I asked them the first time, the woman said “not have” (very frequent response here when ordering), but when I pulled a sad face, saying I came especially for the famous Falang rolls, she paused, looked at the sky and she said, OK we have… Sometimes the Lao need a bit of convincing to work, or a little help to calculate the bill (especially when paying separately at a big table of customers).

Ever heard of tubing? Great experience

Ever heard of tubing? Great experience

And it is at the Falang roll place that an Italian guy joined me for breakfast (by coincidence and sheer friendliness), and few moments after a few Dutch who knew the Italian and we all had the crazy idea to go tubing together – so we did – what an experience… (more here).

From that moment on, we started hanging out together, like a little family that kept on extending. Meeting each other in the street, saying hi, stopping for a little chat. We inquired what the others did the night before or would be doing today, making plans for walks, lunches or dinners. At some stages we would even end up with a table for 10 in the restaurant.

Romance? Nope - just a dutch co-traveler

Romance? Nope - just a dutch co-traveler

The only thing that is missing here is any kind of ‘romance’. I have been single for longer periods before, but here in the one street village, the closest you can get to some ‘affection’ is to pay 40000 kip for a female massage. It is so blatantly obvious that I am the only gay in the village – and the only remote homo pleasure I can indulge in is smiling at the guys that are washing themselves in the river in their undies (common view here).

  • I wonder how other solo travelers (the 6 months around the world type of traveler) deal with their ‘needs’ while traveling? Or they just turn off their needs all together?

It got even that crazy that one night I dreamt of WOMEN – being in one of those bamboo huts, playing around in the shower – with not too much clothes on… So I suppose that’s a sign, but of what? Withdrawel symptoms? Too much time on my hands (and head)? Being a healthy chap (in that department)? Surrendering to womenkind?


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