Hmmm, we were in Lao roughly 10-11 months ago... Back in 2013...
So this is me trying to make a big memory effort!
On the way back from Champasak, we returned to Pakse to take a bus (again) to the Boloven plateau. As there is no main town on the plateau, we had picked one which looked big enough for a hotel and which was a bit central so we could tour the area on a motorbike.
The bus dropped us on the main road and we had obviously decided to go to the furthest hotel on top of a hill...
It was a bit like a ghost house, no one at the reception, dust everywhere long dark corridor but apparently the best hotel around ;-))))
Touring the area on our motorbike, we discovered gorgeous waterfalls (if you remember from previous Lao posts, waterfalls are the selling point of Lao), tea and coffee plantations where we indulged in numerous coffee breaks!
Coming back to town (hmm village), we thought we should stop for a drink at the first place where they were people. There was a nice outdoors setting, they only seemed to sell coffee but we asked for a beer (we had a caffeine running in our veins after that many coffee breaks!). As it is always around SE Asia, nothing is a problem, if we want beer and they don't have it, they send a kid to the shop to buy beer!
After one or two beers, we started feeling a bit like intruders, they were setting plenty of tables outside with soup, drinks and the excitation was building up. We thought that we better leave as there must be a wedding arriving or a big celebration. That's when we asked for the bill and were told it was free!
We could certainly not leave without paying, especially knowing that they had to go to the shop to get the beer! By that time people had started arriving for dinner. We had tried asking what was going on but English doesn't go very far in Lao... We noticed a table of tourists who were eating so we thought we would try our luck with them. They were staying at a guesthouse in town and were told to come here for dinner as this family was inviting the entire village and anyway anything else would be closed. It was half way between a family reunion, a religious event and a village party!
So we joined in! It was delicious, food had been cooked in massive pans, similar to the ones they use in the Indian temples in Singapore for celebration. They kept on serving us beer all night (by that I mean up to 8.30pm) and at the end, we made a donation at the temple set up in the living room to cover for dinner cost, drinks and a bit more!
It was such a great night, I would have liked to understand a bit more about the why and how, how often they do that, who organizes but anyway, it was nice to be part of the community.
The day after, we were back in a bus on our way to Pakse airport, flying to Vientiane (the flight which since the crash this summer doesn't have such a good reputation...)