Today is the real Laos New Year but I don’t really realise it as there is parties every single day here. Their neighbour as cooked lots of food for us. We could barely finish everything. Every time a plate was half full she would come back to top it up. I’ve joined the Tang, Chiang and their mates to celebrate another special day as well today. There is the birthday of one of them. I’m sorry I cannot remember all the names… The one with the green t-shirt is turning 21 today (I think).
Unfortunately I’ve took some pictures today but lost all of them after a bad manipulation… The only thing I have is a tiny video I made with my phone that day, better than nothing. As planned, I met Tang, Chiang and all their chinese classmates today. They have been invited by the school academy to celebrate the Laos New Year. First, they offered a t-shirt to everyone and then we wished Happy New Year to each other by attaching a bracelet to the other person’s wrist. We do one wrist and then the other one. At the end of the day, you can end up with hundreds of bracelets on each wrist ;-) At the same time, some people distributed eggs but I could not find out why.
When that little “ceremony” was finished we sat around the table and started lunch. At this point, a woman standed up, picked up a container with water and walked around the tables. Person after person, she tapped your shoulder and then pour some fresh water in your back wishing you happy new year. The first time, it’s surprising and so cold but after a while you get use to, well, not when they put ice cubes in the water :-)
Then came the beer, the music and so on. During all the afternoon, some guy would walk around the place with a bottle of beer and make drink everyone they can. I hate beer… More I have to drink, and worse I think it is, beurk!
After 4pm we pursuited the rest of the afternoon in the river. I had a big surprise when I realised that 90% of the chinese did not know how to swim! Even in 50 cm of water they were scared. I’ve tried to explain the basics but in the river, with the current, it’s not the easier place to learn if you want to master your fear.
Second day spent with the Thai cyclists. During their trip they rely a lot on temples. Thailand has a lot of them apparently. They provide free food and accommodation for anyone. Singapore has its lot of temples too. Tonight we will sleep in one of them. This is going to be my first time. This afternoon the temple surroundings were occupied by huge tents and other installations. Hundreds of Chineses were here for the celebration. Again, for the first time I’m enjoying a festival like this one. Lots of discoveries today :-)
Here we go, today I’m in a judge’s skin. David is one of the judges too :-) We’ve never done that before but why not :-) Fortunately my skills in graphic and web design might help a bit but it’s still an environment I did not expect to be in! Vic is quite confident about us, maybe more than us haha.
Third day in Barunga, the campsite is definitively full and I there is still some people coming. I’m surprised to see that people just come now. And I’m even more surprised to that the aboriginal family that camp next to me and came here for the event spent most of their time near their tent.
Today, Barunga festival has full started. a lot more caravan and tent appear on the different campsites. There is 7 camp around the village and all of them are nearly full. There is music, some sport competition I did not follow at all and some different workshops I’d like to participate too but it’s another $35. There is a supermarket as well which is good for me because I’ll need some more bread and other things. But the price are cracking expensive. Better than the roadhouses but still high. And finally, we could see some Aboriginal traditional dance.
I left as early as I could this morning and arrived at the festival just when they opened the doors :-) Perfect timing! This is more the preparation day and there is not much to do but at least I paid to sleep somewhere so it’s better than nothing. The guy are repeating on the main stage and the shops are taking place around. Lucky me, this community has even a library so I’ve been there for one hour to charge my phone and laptop :-)