Every time I start a day with Ken asking me through the bamboo door: "Étienne, you wanna go somewhere with me today?" I know it's going to be a good day.
Today we went to the neighbor island of Don Son to bring 8 bags of rice to the rice mill.
I had never been there and was amazed at it's difference from Don Det, being a short swim away from one another. Simpler (even more) living, smaller trails (no roads), no guesthouses or western-style restaurants. It was also much cleaner.
Our first stop was to eat some "feuh" (delicious noodle soup, also usually the cheapest food available) and we then watched the mill work a little bit. We were there at 1 pm so it was already a very hot day... time for a swim!
Me and Arron jumped in the river and started playing with 3 kids under the watchful eye of their mother (you never know what kind of foreigner you'll get). After 20 minutes of that I decided to walk up to the mother to introduce myself, show her I was the respectful kind of tourist (I realised on the spot that I was not wearing a shirt, which is usually kind of impolite).
As I was buying myself a snack in a tiny store installed in front of the woman's house, a Lao man in his 20s walked past me. I had learned "Kim Beer Bo?" a few days ago (loosely translated to "Want to eat beer?" so I asked him and he said yes with a smile.
As I am grabbing 2 cans of Angkor beer (finally a change from Beerlao!) in the mini-fridge, about 6 kids arrived. I guess the word got out that a farang was in town. I bought them all a little bag of chips and had my beers with the Lao man and the mother.
After this there was no more getting away from the kids. Me and Arron proceeded to spin them around for about 40 minutes. We got hot again so we went back in the river and started throwing the kids around. One of them was a little dare-devil so I threw him as high and far as I possibly could and in mid-air he looked back at me and gave me two thumbs up, smiling wide!
An hour or so of this later, me and Arron are pretty much exhausted. We got out of the water to get dry when the ice cream man drove by with his scooter. You can recognise them because they have a metal coolbox built on top of their motorbike! Me and the kids all ran up to him yelling the word for ice cream (that I since forgot) and I bought about 15 pop sicles for all the little guys and gals - not sure if it cost me over 2 dollars.
By that time the mill had done it's work. We waved everyone goodbye, woke up Ken and got back on our boat towards Don Det.
It's one of my favourite memories of my 6 months of travels.
The Don Son Kids (click for video)
Dédié à Jessica, c'était cool de finalement rencontrer ta fille!