This is a continuation of a previous post: I Thought Wrong: A Serious Game of Lao Soccer
Covered in salty crusted sweat, I didn’t exactly feel like heading for a drink, but I didn’t see much choice in the matter either and hey, I was in Laos. Tom also assured me I could wash up inside, but the bathroom ended up consisting of some squat toilets with large buckets of water next to them. I’d only used these to flush the toilet in the past, but after watching a few of the other guys, I decided to follow suit and splashed some water on my face to “freshen up.”
Exiting the bathroom, I joined our large group and the beers were ordered. Since there was no winner of our soccer game, we would each be paying for our own drinks tonight. The beer (with ice) began to flow and I soon realized how quickly it was disappearing. Each time a glass was raised, everyone at the table followed suite and your glass of beer needed to be finished in its entirety before it hit the table. The glasses were small, but the number or refills was not. After countless more raised glasses and a few lessons on creative ways to open a BeerLao without the help of a bottle opener (see left), the conversation flood gates opened. Tom wanted to talk girls, while the others just wanted to practice their English. Austin and I were happy to oblige.
Appetizers were ordered next and consisted of fried buffalo skin, some sort of liver and chicken tendons. While the cubes of skin were quite tough they were surprisingly delicious, although the beer could’ve been aiding our taste buds. After drinking by their rules up until this point, I suggested that we try drinking a beer in a very American fashion, shotgunning. Austin was all over the idea and before I knew it, our whole table of Lao guys were standing in a circle, holes cut in their respective beer cans, waiting for the signal. Needless to say, we were all pretty drunk by this point.
But the night wasn’t finished quite yet. Another group had gathered in celebration of a girl’s birthday. I’m not sure if we were actually invited over but before I knew it, we were singing alongside them and getting cake smeared on our faces, apparently a tradition in Laos. The frosting was really good. Next, Tom suggested a club and to be honest, I wasn’t in the mood for dancing. We had been drinking for a few hours now, but Tom wouldn’t hear any of it, so before I could say otherwise, off we went.
I bought some street food, got mad at Austin for eating to much of it and suddenly, I was dancing. Lao clubs are interesting. There is always what looks like the dance floor, except it’s completely covered in tall standing tables. This can make it seem like no one is dancing, only socializing. I think Austin sensed some much needed change in the air, because as soon as the last bit of mystery meat was gone, he had started a giant dance circle. Lao people do know how do dance, and dance they did.
If you’re planning a stop in Luang Namtha, Laos and interested in finding this mythical soccer field or the drinking establishments I stumbled across, shoot me a message or comment and I’d be happy to give you some more info.