Being A Kid Again in the Mountains and Rivers of Laos
Kayaking, tubing, swimming in the water hole. Once a place to get high and watch TV, now Vang Vieng is a place to relive childhood memories.
We were sitting outside at the cafe alongside the Nam Song River in Vang Vieng, Laos, and watching as tourists drifted by on kayaks and local kids splashed each other and tried to skip rocks. The shallow water only came up to their waists and lower stomachs.
"Did you ever play in the river when you were growing up?" I asked my Laotian companion, Na. "Back when I was growing up in Tennessee, we used to play in the creek at summer camp, we would make boats out of wood and send them down the rapids. There were these animals with claws in the creek, called crawdads, like small lobsters. We tried to catch them."
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She responded with memories of her own.
I was the fifth of seven children. I grew up in a village along the Mekong River near Vientiane. My dad worked on the island and tended to the garden. Sometimes he would take me and my brother along. We would ride on the back of the bike while he pedaled. We would stop at the market first. Then we would keep going towards the islands. We would get on a boat. When we got close, my brother and I would jump off and run across the sand to the island. The sand bar starts before the island...
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