Day 126 – 16.11.2015
Laos – Tat Lo
Coffee place of Mr. Vieng. Tat Soung waterfall
Today was the day !!! I was sitting on a scooter for the first time in 30 years. And I had Alina behind me. The automatic gear box helped obviously I didn’t need to change gears at all. But putting this thing into motion – oh my God – my heart was beating as if I was doing God knows what… But it worked. I could drive. I went all the way to Mr. Vieng’s coffee place.
He is a Katu. This is a specific ethnic group here. 40 years ago this whole village lived near the Vietnamese border. But there they didn’t have a hospital close by, agriculture was difficult, selling and buying was difficult so the whole village decided to move. Amazing. Now they are having their village on the Bolaven Plateau where they are growing coffee, peanuts and rice. The woman are weaving and selling their beautiful materials to Luang Prabang, Vientiene, Vang Vieng shops and of course also directly to travelers in their own little “shop”.
He explained to us the three different coffee plants they are having: Arabica, Robusta and Liberica. The Arabica plants need two years before they can be harvested and the other two six. But then they can used them for 15-20 years and when they are not that good anymore, they just cut the tree right down and wait again a couple of years and the tree is ready for harvest again.
The whole village is involved in the coffee production. First the coffee beans are picked, then the first skin is removed, then washed, afterwards they leave them for drying for about 10 days, then they remove the second skin before roasting. And their Arabica is tasty… Alina got even to grind the beans for some tourists who had ordered a coffee.
Mr Vieng also has a homestay. That means you can sleep there, eat with the family and it is the most tranquil place I have seen in a long time. So for everybody who is travelling from or to Pakse it is right alongside the main street. 4 amazing rooms. And his coffee is spotless. Everything he is doing himself, even the furniture, which are dead comfy.
I could have stayed there easily for a week but since we need to be out of the country on Thursday – we left and drove to Tat Soung waterfall.
Tat Soung is a 50m drop. Unfortunately a new dam has substantially reduced the flow of this once-spectacular waterfall. If you walk 300m or so upstream from the top of the falls you’ll find a delightful swimming hole. (Lonely Planet)
In the evening we went to Palamei Guesthouse. They are organizing from time to time family dinners. When there are about six people interested, they cook together and eat together. On our way we had asked but there weren’t’ enough people. So we just went for “normal” dinner but when we got there they had had a family dinner and we could just sit down and eat. It was lovely food: soup, salad, curry, sticky rice, pizza and fresh fruit. But the price was also lovely… KIP 35000 per person, which I am happy to pay but not for the kids. First they said it was the same price for the children and I realized how annoyed I was about that. So I went back and polity complained. And after some discussion we got a kids price, which I think is only fair. They ate mainly sticky rice.
Tomorrow we will be leaving the Bolaven Plateau and head back to Pakse and further south to 4000-islands.