Friday, December 7, 2007

Hostage to Hospitality

Savannaket is the kind of place it's great to travel to. There's nothing really to 'see' but it's a perfect town to wander the quiet streets, chat to people and generally hang out. I decided to stay a couple of days as a break from the bike.

For the second time in as many days I found myself hostage to Lao hospitality. Watching a game of petang I was soon adopted by Dr Two, a surgeon from the local hospital, and we began an all day petang-watching fest of drinking and eating. We started with rice whiskey spiced up with goat gonads and moved on to eat the 'nads themselves. As a result I am assured I will become a "very strong man".

We traveled across town from one petang venue to another, finishing at the 'stadium' for an all day knockout competition. Petang seems to be identical to French boule, but I'm no expert. The guys in Savannaket certainly were though, and the competition was enthralling. My team pick from the first round was defeated in the final, an absorbing game. It was all toped off with much Beerlao and backslapping. An unexpected and great day.



Kids on the street outside the local Wat. This is about as busy as it gets in Savannaket.


The town has a blend of dilapidated French colonial architecture and Laos laid-back-ness that is common to Laos - and Cambodia.


Dr Two and the author. He doesn't look all that pleased in this picture but he soon picked up after a few glasses of goat whiskey and Beerlao.


There was much discussion, advice and measurement on the field, here at our first petang venue behind the bus shelter.


It was Lao National Day and so there were spectators aplenty wherever we went.


The final was played under floodlights at the local 'stadium'. The dude in the blue shirt is a virtuoso and now town champion. Destined for the national team I was told, and after watching his game I can believe it.

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