Dead cats, working elephants, new schools, and other tidbits from Laos

It’s a public holiday here in Laos, so Mike and I are celebrating by working together at the kitchen table. Yeah, we really know how to do public holidays in style.

Actually, one of us does, anyway. Mike let me sleep in until nearly eight this morning and then woke me up with a tray loaded with cheesy scrambled eggs, grilled tomato, mango, dragonfruit, and half a cup of coffee (I’m just easing back into coffee after going off it overnight the minute I was afflicted with pregnancy nausea). So we had breakfast in bed together before we set up our two laptops downstairs and started typing away like disciplined little nerds.

Though if I really were a die hard nerd I’d be working on my consultancy, drafting the next chapter for this distance learning course instead of having spent the last hour perusing my email and google reader, looking at photos we’ve taken this last week, and now writing a blog post.

But this next chapter, you see, is on Wellbeing Economics (how and whether governments and managers should be paying attention to improving their citizens and employees wellbeing) and I feel clueless. So since it’s International Women’s Day I figure I should put off the hard work of getting less clueless until after lunch when I’ll be hot, and sleepy, and cranky because my back (which decided yesterday for no apparent reason that it wanted to really start hurting) is getting worse and worse throughout the day.

Yup, I’m a smart one all right.

But, today, instead of doing the smart thing I’m going to do the fun one and show you some of the things we’ve seen here in Laos this past week. I really wish I had a photo of what I saw yesterday afternoon but, alas, I was without camera when I took Zulu down the street to buy some Japanese eggplants from the woman who sells vegetables from a tarp on the sidewalk.

She had eggplants all right, and right beside the eggplants was a basket with two dead cats in it. The cats were crawling with flies, which the woman helpfully waved off with a coconut fond when she saw how interested I was in the cats. The flies rose up in a thick, dark, cloud, then promptly settled over all of the vegetables. I made sure to wash the eggplants thoroughly.

That was a first for me. I regularly see this woman selling birds (that’s what Zulu’s so interested in in the photo above), rats (sometimes dead, sometimes live), and occasionally dead bats tied in handy bunches. But I’ve never seen whole kitties for sale before.

So here are some images we did take this week of life here in Laos:

Palm tree at sunset from the deck of our house

Zulu, doing his new favourite thing (bringing a big clump of dirt into the house and chewing it to bits)

What Zulu lacks in leg length, he makes up for in ear size

Mike at a cafe on the Mekong on his birthday

Lanterns hanging above the Mekong

Checking out the construction around town on Saturday morning

Building roads and drains, the hard way

Burning rubbish around town – it’s going to get smokier and smokier throughout March as the farmers burn the rice fields after harvest

Rice fields on the way out to Phonxai

The brand new school that we went to see in progress together just two weeks ago – finished now and standing proudly beside the old school

The village surrounding the school

A working elephant alongside the road out to Phonxai

Is International Woman’s Day a holiday where you are? How have you celebrated it? And what cool things have you seen in the past week?

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8 responses to “Dead cats, working elephants, new schools, and other tidbits from Laos

  1. Nice pictures… Hhhhmmm I didn’t even know is International Women’s Day. I think Laos probably have more national holidays than most countries. They are into celebrating international holidays.

  2. Love the shot of the palm tree, and the cafe looks delightful.

    I wish it was a holiday today. Instead, I’m doing homework. (Well, technically I’m commenting on your blog, but I should be doing homework.) 😛

    • The cafe’s along the Mekong are delightful – especially with a lovely fruit shake in hand. I completely empathize with the “should be doing homework” feeling. I “should” be finishing planning this Wellbeing Economics chapter instead of commenting on comments on the blog :).

  3. International Woman’s Day is not being celebrated in Central PA. Today is Fastnacht Day!!! Fastnacht Day is a day to forget about dieting and a slim waistline and feast on DOUGHNUTS!
    “Fastnacht” is German for “Fast Night.” It’s a custom that had its beginnings with the Plain People. Making Fastnachts helped to use up the lard and sugar they had on hand before the Lenten fast began.

  4. That elephant looks totally fake. I mean, I believe it’s real, but something about the eyes and the trunk position. Surreal.

    Glad you sound like you’re feeling better. 🙂

    • You are so right – it totally looks fake. It’s the colour, too – it’s sort of like cement. I am feeling better on the nausea front – hooray. But back. Grrr… back is hurting.

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