Tuesday, January 29, 2008


We finished our tour of two district hospitals and returned to Pakse. As a treat, I stopped by an Indian restaurant and got take-away. Now I'm feeling very energized by finishing a dinner of chicken tikka masala and paneer korma. And still more savory dishes for tomorrow.

In Salavan, there aren't many restaurants and not much variety. Most people don't eat out for dinner - they might grab a bowl of noodle soup for lunch, or pick up a few servings of something exotic for dinner. Many restaurants have grilled food, to eat as snacks while drinking beer. And there are a few riverside restaurants where you have a nice view while eating grilled fish. Well, it's not so bad - especially when compared to going out to the more remote districts where it's forest animal soup, sticky rice, and the chances of getting fresh vegetables are nil.

So I enjoy having Indian food when I can - too bad it's a two hour drive for take out, and there's no delivery service!

The picture above has nothing to do with Indian food or anything. They are not even Indian elephants. On Monday, we stopped at Pa Suan resort, which is a wonderful restful place outside of Bachineng town. About ten years ago, a Thai man leased the land and developed in a very sustainable way - no trees were cut down to build the small cabins that blend into the foliage. A few years ago, he developed cerebral malaria and went blind - but continued with his dream. Although there are busloads of Thai tourists who visit the site, the staff, who are all ethnic minorities, are tour guides and know a lot about preserving culture and the environment.

The elephants aren't exactly green - they're the dorkiest thing in the area.

And this is a view of the river. The banks are made of hexagonal basalt crystals.

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