Don Det – Laos – March 2015

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After a hellish 12.5 hour ordeal coming into Laos we end up on Don Det after dark.  We were told by friends to check out a few places and really choose a bungalow that we like.  We decided to walk down the sunrise side of the island and find a place there.  There’s bungalows all the way down… the problem is, they’re all full.  Every sign we crossed said “Sorry Full”

Walking with 2 French girls as well, 1.5km down the road, we come across a place and ask if they have a room.  They say they have 1… I’m tired and grumpy and inconsiderate of other people I ask to see it.  The room is basic but has a private bath for 70,000kip ($11cad) We say we’ll take it.  When we came out, the French girls were gone… glad we didn’t have to have an awkward conversation… sorrynotsorry. 

The owners name is Mr Vai and his wife is Mrs Sai.  Mrs Sai runs the restaurant.  I ask a couple guys eating how the food is and they say “Best on the island.  Prices are less than most places and the food is great!”  I’m sold.  They also were not wrong (except breakfast)

We ate lunch at a different place every day but returned to Mrs Sai for dinner each night.  One thing on Mrs Sai’s menu that is a must try is the Special Rice Pudding.  It is Sticky rice cooked in chocolate, coconut and sweet milk and topped with banana.  It’s mouthwatery deliciousness. 

Rooster Fighting

As we finished up dinner our first night, Mr Vai says to us, “Tomorrow we have rooster fighting here… so sorry if it is noisy” 
Awesome!

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Since we’ve been in Asia we’ve been interested in seeing how the rooster fighting is done here and how it fits in to their culture.  For the most part, we feel like it’s been hidden from us.  Probably because white people insist on telling people that their culture is wrong. 
At 11am they start the fights.  Things that I noticed were and confirmed with Mr Vai afterwards included:

*The roosters talons are removed and there is no replacement razor blade or anything.  One guy who was excited to see a total of 5 white people here today holds his fists up with a smile and yells “Rooster boxing!” 

*All fights are 20 minutes long.
*Because of no talons, there is very little to no blood and roosters very very rarely die. 
*They have kids who wash the roosters before they fight.  I just picture them filling out their Facebook profile.. Occupation: Sunday Cock Washer
*There is betting involved but I have no idea how it works
*The 2 owners of the roosters fighting here usually agree to pay 330,000k each with the 30,000k going to Mr Vai.  Pretty good commission at $7.50usd per fight for him.  300,000k is about $40usd.
*They even have cock purses! Little rooster holding bags!

If you don’t want to participate here, don’t go here on a Sunday but the atmosphere is similar to a Thai Boxing fight!

Cycling

We rented bicycles one day.  We paid 10,000k each for the day and had a great time.  We cycled all over the island to the south bridge that connects to Don Kong.  They wanted 35,000k each for us to enter the island so we decided not to.  That 35,000k does include your ticket to see the waterfall but we just wanted to cycle around so it didn’t make sense for us to pay.  Laos has lots of waterfalls to go see. 
The view from the bridge is nice!

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We hung out to watch the water Buffalo

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We stopped on the sunset side to enjoy some cold drinks on the Sunset side.

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Party Island?

We read that the island is loud and there’s lots of partying.  We didn’t really see it.  The North end of the island was busy but not rowdy by any party standards.  We stayed further south just so we wouldn’t have to be bothered by it but when we walked up it seemed restaurants and bars only had a handful of people each.  Yet everything was full… Maybe we were looking in the wrong places? 

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Mr Vai & Mrs Sai

The sweetest couple.  They made us feel incredibly welcome and Mr Vai seemed to enjoy practicing his english with us.  Mrs Vai speaks very little english but has a very warm smile and engages in small talk. 

As we got ready to leave, Mr Vai came out with 2 bracelets for us and as he tied them on our wrists, he said the same thing both times.  “This is for good luck, good money and health” 

Small things like this warm my heart and make my day. 

Next up is Tad Lo waterfall!

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