Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

No Place like Home Stay

Last night was the home stay.

After travelling most of the day we stopped in a small village close to the Vietnam border right on the river (the Nam Song River, I think). It has to be said the scenery on the way was special, with limestone pinnacles erupting from deep valleys of lush forest. The pinnacles themselves were dark grey rock, vertical channels worn down their faces. Despite the fact I was sleepy and dozing most of the time, the sight did wake me up.

The family we were staying with had a room devoted to six of us, the other six staying in another family house across from us. I can understood the worry about avian flu as all families live with poultry running around their legs. Our family appeared to be very nice, with very many children including a cute little 1 year old. However, they tended to keep to themselves. Only the grandfather, paralysed down his right side by a stroke, and his wife really paid us much of a smile.

In the hour around sundown we travelled out in three B52 bomb boats. These vessels, crafted from the discarded fuel casings of B52s, were thin rocket shaped boats. I was the last to get a lifejacket, being the only real non-swimmer, and it was as well I did as things could get rocky. Annabel and Sarah shared my boat and our pilot was the last to leave and the first to return, never venturing further than the other boats and probably unhappy at getting the remaining three passengers, fare being paid by passenger and the others each having four. Nevertheless, sunset was stunning, while the river itself was wonderfully relaxing.

Our meal was cooked not by the family but by our guide, and was lovely.

Sleeping was uneven disturbed by roosters from three on (a common occurrence in this neck of the woods). As it was we were up for breakfast at 6 and on the road at 6.30.

The border at Vietnam was interesting and will wait until my next post.


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