Pakse Police and pigs.
· 23 July 2004 ·

After the cow incident we arrived later in Paxse, a delightful town in the southernmost province of Si Phan Don. We dined on Indian and stuffed ourselves relentlessly, and decided to go for a walk. After cruising through the market (by the way I believe Asian food markets behold simultaneously the best and worst smells known to mankind. it’s a tough choice for the best, but there is no worse smell than dried and pounded squid) we settled down by the riverside to consume some cold drinks. Dave got a Winelao, but unlike his wonderfully delicious brother Beerlao, it tastes remarkably like the warm sugary syrup of a warm and slightly alcoholic otter pop. We noticed 20 feet down a sharp incline from us at the river’s edge a Lao longboat was loaded heavily with hairy black pigs. A lao longboat is a rickety old thing made of wood, probably 6 feet across and 3 feet deep, and very likely something inbetween 40-60 feet long with festively bright reggae colors and usually a good number of water gushing holes. (See later) Anyways, the next 45 minutes insued chaos. The goal (I think) was to load the pigs from boat—-> to pickup truck) Animal cruetly in Laos, is a silly concept. Basically anything that can be eaten, is eaten, and who cares how you treat your future meal? A group of 2 young men and 4 boys ages 6-14, began the task. They chased the pigs all the fuck over the place. One especially daring rogue summited the hill and ran into a nearby shop. Most of the pigs were coralled by the nipping dogs, and then carried by two Lao workers. One would grab the tail, the other would grab the ears. The pig would scream. Oh my god. There is no way to describe the noise that would emit from those animals but I will attempt. With the imperitive screech of a boiling kettle, but the intensity of one of those damn navy jets flying too close to Anacortes, mixed in with the butchering of a group of hyenas with machine gun fire, and the mating sounds of two sadistic gorillas, the pigs scream permeated the air thickly. We watched.

Later that evening Riley, Dave and I decided to go out for some drinks. We were walking down by the riverside (the hip place to be on a Pakse Friday apparently.) and a group of 8 or 9 guys yelled to us from the other side of the street. They were all wielding fiercely friendly smiles and bottles of lao-lao, the deadly local alcohol, and a guitar (5 string, of course.) They called to us , “hello! sit down! sing ! sing! drink lao lao!!” Of course we joined them. We sang with their songs, clapped the beat along, and began attempts at conversation. After strong insistence to consume about 5 or 6 shots of the stuff each, dave decided it was absolutely a great idea to get another bottle for the group. Riley bought a round of beerlao for everyone as well. We ended up trading the guitar about and taking turns singing, and catching the eye of everyone passing by, many of which joined in. After many songs, smiles, and unprompted bouts of laughter, the falang group set out for food. Kow pad moo for me and Riley and an Absolutely heaping bowl of giant crickets for Dave. Dave was rather silly at this point and was blowing kisses at the restaurant girls, who thought it was quite entertaining. WE left the restaurtant but on our way back were called again by another group, we recognized a couple of the members from before. They again asked us to sit down, and again produced a bottle of lao-lao, drinks all around. (The kindest people in the world) We produced a fanciful joint and smoking ensued. I asked curiously at one point, “Do police arrest people because of ganja.” ONe man, right near me, said (as he took the joint from his lips and exhaling and turned his shirt around so I could see the badge sewn in his shoulder pad), ” we are the police.” They then laughed and a man with an ak47 sat down and puffed away. we laughed. drank. smoked again. drank. laughed. and were than taken back to our guesthouse drunk as skunks, on the police bikes.


Written by Evan Williamson


  1. pat    Jul 24, 03:44 AM    #