And just for a slight change of pace, I stumbled upon an article in the Tahoe Daily Tribune (not the most common source of anecdotal material for New Mandala) by Rick Gunn. He is a chap who is cycling around the world. Titled “Loose in Laos” the article devotes most of its attention to northern Laos and the author’s time there. A run in with some pigs punctuates his other adventures. For fans of Southeast Asian travelogue or Laos, the full article is definitely worth a look.

As a taster for New Mandala readers, I quote one of his lively encounters with trekking culture:

After the meal was finished, Oung [the trekking guide] produced what looked like a medicine bottle. It was filled with his favorite spirit Lao Lao. Although he didn’t act according to tribal tradition, (pouring a single shot on the floor for other spirits in the house), he did pour a shot for all of us. When I tipped back the glass, the liquid screeched across my tongue with a taste that I imagined matched that of rabbit urine (although I couldn’t speak from experience). “More?” Oung offered. “I’m good.” I gasped. “Me too.” Jarv added sounding as if someone had just punched him in the solar-plex.

Oung smiled back with a look that said, “More for me,” then proceeded to get slaughtered.