Category Archives: Laos

Tham Loum and Tham Dook

The night before leaving for the trip to the village of Ban Loum Kwai to collect more stalagmite samples and survey Tham Dook, we stopped at the night market to pick of some food for 9 people for two days and two nights. We splurged on 16 baguettes and bought some beautiful breads of varying […]

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A Family in Every Pot

We made it back to camp after two days of driving a 1985 Hyundai van on steep single-track rock-strewn roads looking down at the tops of banana trees, negotiating with the village elders, hammering stalagmites, sleeping on concrete, crying at the site of someone’s dinner, having a personal moment with a large hog. And then […]

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Guano and Sacrificial Pigs

Last night we missed a big party at the camp. They held a ceremony called a Bar Sri in Thai for Mu’s last day on excavation. Everyone sat around an offering of duck, beer, bananas and chips with candles flickering. Everyone tied white string around each others’ wrists and incanted a blessing: “May you live […]

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Elephant Experience

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wSDH8QzaiQ&hl=en_US&fs=1&] Kathleen, Mick, Michael and I sat down to our yogurt (which is all we could safely digest) at cafe Joma and one of us finally admitted that we half regretted signing up to ride elephants on our day off. After trekking up and down mountains and sleeping on cement, all we really wanted to […]

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Cute Overload Laos

I’m now laughing at the fear the travel medicine practitioner instilled in us about the local fauna. According to them we are to assume that every puppy we pass on the street has rabies. I was emphatically told us not to touch ANY animal no matter how cute and fluffy. There are dogs and cats […]

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Tham An Mah

On Saturday, I was finally able to interview Joyce at Tham An Mah. She said the reason why they picked this site was because it would make a comfortable place to live. She described it almost like a real estate listing: roomy, well-sheltered, good living and cooking space… I imagined a hunter-gatherer couple discussing if […]

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Day Seven

The next morning at breakfast, we were talking with Joyce and the team about the american phenomenon of summer camp. Michael recounted his experience at “Mount Misery” and Joyce asked how this experience at the excavation camp compared. He said he was having some difficulty, digestion-wise, and suddenly his face iced over and his hand […]

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Day Six

While a group of us were waiting for the rest of the team to muster, a loud squawk came from a bag piled against the wall amid other bags of rice and oranges. We all started and stared. “Did that bag just move?” Kathleen asked. Just then the bag seemed to inflate and a black […]

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Day Five Digging at Tham An Mah

The team has dug the one by two down to about a meter revealing a beautiful pot completely in tact. Joyce deliberated with BeunHoung about digging a square meter around the pot to get the whole thing out. This of course means more sifting. She said it was most likely a burial pot from the […]

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Mount Phousi

Yes, that is an Oreo cookie. While sight seeing around Luang Prabang, we had to start with the climb up Mount Phousi. The route is peppered with marigolds and sticky rice offerings. Little orange candles also pop up in unexpected spots. Tourists were buzzing around the Wat snapping photos of other tourists smiling in front […]

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