Feb 27, 2010

Lao Americans Be Counted

I'm sure there are at least some Laotian Americans who sometimes read this blog.

During the next couple of weeks we should all be receiving a census from from the US Government in the mail. It's really important that all the people who have immigrated from Laos, and the children of those people, and even the children of those children write down their ethnicity as Laotian. The larger the number of  counted Laotians living in the US the larger the amount of funding for things such as government forms written in Lao language, more effort made for interpreters, more effort made to ensure that those veterans and spouses of veterans recieve thier full benefits for fighting for the Americans etc.

Much of the older generation have limited English Language abilities and as they age they will need assistance with all of the goverment  bureaucracy as well as fullfilling their obligations such as voting.

I'd really love to see funding to support Lao culture. I can't think of an instrument better suited to electification than the kaen, and I can't think of a  folk music that would be more suited to morphing into hard rock than Morlum. I'm waiting for the day when I hear Lumrock.
While I'm at it I'd like to give a hat tip to the Lao American woman at Laotian Teacher who writes a great blog about things sometimes Lao and sometimes not but always very interesting. I first saw the you tube on her blog.

Feb 24, 2010

It's now official, Slowboat Stopped Huay Xai to Luang Prabang (old post)

Lao People Democratic Republic
Peace Independence Democracy Unity Prosperity
Ministry of Public work and transportation Number 274
Section of Public work and Transportation province Bokeo date 18 Feb 2010
To: Tourist companies and citizens whom will be traveling from Houeisay to Pakbeng by local boat.
At present, the department of Public work and Transportation Bokeo province would like to announce that the river transportation has to stop at present because the big boat can no longer travel due to the low water level in the Mekong River. Rapids in the river would make it unsafe for boat to travel. All big boat transportations have to stop until further notice.
This regards all concerned persons that provide transportation and all tourists that which to travel between Houei Say and Luang Prabang and vice versa. Please acknowledge and follow for your safety.
Special: 45 seats Bus Transportation are available daily:
1. Houeisay to Luang Namtha 2 departures
2. Houeisay to Oudomxay 1 departure
3. Houeisay to Luang Prabang 3 departures
4. Houeisay to VTE 1 departure
5. Houeisay to Pakbeng Normal operation by speed boat
Department of Public Work and Transportation, Bokeo Province.


Feb 20, 2010

Tubing Get Drunk Break Skull Vang Vien

Such a great video I just had to share, with a hat tip to some Twitterer named Lee Sheridan who brought it to my attention.

Feb 14, 2010

Long Time Traveler (Muang Long)

Muang Long. In the foreground Nam Ma (Ma River) with fields of melon and rice, in the background Phou Mon Lem (Mon Lem Mountain)

Up in Northern Laos in a long narrow valley lies a town far off the beaten track. It is the largest town in north west Laos past Muang Sing. To the north lie many small villages and many kilometers of hills before the Mekong and the border with China, south lies even higher mountains and a fast river with no bridges and no way to ford in the wet season. The name of the town is Long, it is the central town of the district so it is called Muang Long.

Map of downtown Muang Long showing Guest Houses, Restaurants etc

Muang Long is a market town, lying at the confluence of the Long and the Ma rivers about forty or so kilometers upstream from the smaller town of Xiengkok on the Mekong. Up the road to the east (17A) in the other direction is the old walled town and former opium market at Sing. The floodplain of the rivers is what gives Muang Long it's reason for being. The flat fertile fields along the bottom of the valley provide the agricultural base of the town. The road after it leaves town in both directions is dirt, and there are 4 major foot paths leading over the mountains.

Feb 1, 2010

More of LB's amazing walk in Phongsali

To start at the beginning I suggest reading the blog post preceding this one.  You can tell you're there by the day number.

In response to a photo of some young Lao Sueng women, whose ethnicity I was unable to pin down, I got a comment and then an email from a French fellow who has walked the length and width of Phongsali province, mostly off road.

We both had photos of the same town high on a ridge above the Ou taken from the same spot. LB's photo was taken four years earlier before metal roofs. The trek he describes was done in the fall of 07.

Original in French here, http://voyageforum.com/v.f?post=1495745 you need to cut and paste to go to the post, I think there are is stuff in the link that isn't html. The following is a translation via Google Tranlator, you've been warned.

I'll stick in some photos just to look at.

Squirell Hunter

24 Day Ban Phousoung, Kitchen Akha, ovens and cookstoves

That is, it's the "little monsoon. As often early October, heavy rain batter, alternating with moments of calm, but for two or three days. It started last night, a real flood, a deafening roar over the corrugated sheets. So this morning the whole world does not descend to the source, the single hole of muddy water available near the village, carrying a sack full of bamboo tubes of storage, but most harvesting rainwater falling on roofs and gutters channeled into bamboo. It must, however well out at least once in the day, to need, in the bushes, through wet and muddy passages drawn from the pigs, and followed by themselves, these scavengers village, then back in charge of a couple of pounds of mud on each sole and thong with two or three leeches on the thighs.