The simple life of people in Laos, a developing country that only opened to tourism in 1988, offers little stress and tension. This little recreation area under some shady trees is actually a taxi stand. The taxi drivers play board games while waiting for customersDraughts or Checkers, whatever the name of the game? There is no need for expensive branding. The board is a used wooden piece of wood painted over with squares. The pieces are used bottle caps of different colours. The checkered board is also painted permanently on the top of some tables.
Dominos on the side walk. The owner (grey jacket) of the dominos set plays with anyone who wants to make a bet with him. He sits at the same spot from morning till evening to earn a living. I guessed there was some betting involved as there was cash exchange with different people as they squated for a game.
This family has a shelter where they sit and chat while waiting for customers to buy their trinklets and statues
Come lunch time and a simple meal of glutinous rice, salad of local vegetables, soup and a side vegetable/meat dish is shared and enjoyed
One unusual dish is the spare parts - I think they eat every part of the pig and chicken, insides included. The different entrails (liver, kidney, stomach, intestines, tongue and including cubed pieces of solidified blood) are boiled and displayed in large pots. Customers pick the spareparts and they are mixed with noodles and soup for a hot hearty meal. I need to get use to this spare part thingy - it's like something from the TV series "Fear Factor."
But generally, I noticed Laotians eat healthily with lots of leafy local salads accompanying every meal. The salads are not mixed with any creamy sauces like mayonaise or thousand island dressings, rather the greens are eaten with hot chilli paste or just raw chillies. WOW - the little red chillies there are brain busters. One bite and I felt my mouth on fire. They eat glutinous (sticky) rice with every meal but the people are slim. Recollecting my 5 days there, I did not see anyone who was over weight.