The Mekong River between Chaing Rai and Luang Prabang 2007
I took a cruise down the Mekong from Chiang Rai Thailand to Luang Prabang Laos. The trip lasted two days with an overnight in a rather luxe village hotel on the river. We were billeted in separate ‘huts’ and had wonderful views of the infamous river. The windows had shutters but no glass, so no air conditioning but I don’t remember it being too hot. I do remember being worried that a snake of huge proportions might slither into my room. And though others scoffed at me when I told them, sort of jokingly, I did find a large fat gecko staring at me when I brushed my teeth. I was careful to wear shoes at all times.
We chugged downriver past the jungly hills of Laos and Thailand. Now and then we’d see a village and now and then we would stop for a visit. It always turned out that the villagers were expecting us and had their weavings ready for us to buy. Of course, we bought. Most of us were women. Women seem to like these culture tours much more than men do.
I, as is my wont, wandered about trying to find some photographs. I saw this old woman in her hut on stilts and I climbed the ladder slowly watching her reaction to my approach. Her reaction as I neared the top rung was to rub her fingertips over her thumb in the familiar signal meaning “money”. My reaction is to say, “Photos first!” I got what I wanted and she got what she wanted.