Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos

Instagram photos and videos

by @bennnaayy

Day 35.2 | Happy Happy Birthday.

2130 / 730 pst
It's getting late for most of the kids so they start going home. Cherry invites me to go out with her and her friends for some drink. When we arrive, it's only 5 of us total at this outdoor eatery. We met up with another dude and a girl who is working here. They order a alcoholic slushie for us to share with long straws. One of the girls said that they get drunk easily and they weren't joking, after drinking only a little, she was acting a fool. I didn't know what to expect. After a couple of drinks, one of the girls is already tispy and obnoxious, which makes me slightly concerned as she drove her motorcycle here. The slushie is interesting. It's very sweet, but mainly tastes like pespi with hard cider. It's not really anything special but something to hide whatever alcohol is in it. It felt like my mouth was getting sour from the soda-like drinks we were having, and the Hawaiian drink they ordered stain our tongues blue, so it's definitely a sugary syrup being used. At one point, they were making a joke and Cherry asks me why I didn't laugh and if I understand what they're saying. I told her I understand what they said, I didn't laugh because I didn't understand the joke. In the end, everyone just thinks I don't understand what she said. At the end if the night, everyone seems ok, tispy at most, except for the one girl who seemed to have gotten drunk off some sips. However, we managed to all get home safely.

2240 / 840 pst
After I get home, I set my camera on my bed and take a shower. After just a few minutes I come back to two cockroaches invading my camera. I take Cherry's color pencil box that I found on the shelves and slay the two creatures. They were so tough that all 5he color pencils flew out of the box. I messaged Cherry the scene occuring in her room, in which she tells me to kill them. I thought they were dead but then notice slight twitching. They were both still alive. I stab the one flipped over and it starts to scramble, but it never dies. I contain both of them in a water bottle and I plan to release them the next day if they survive the night in the bottle.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
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by @bennnaayy

Day 35.1 | Happy Happy Birthday.

2030 / 630 pst
Cherry finally comes home and with her is a small wave of motorcycles and friends. She tells me to go eat with them and I get up to help setup almost everything as the boys play games on their phones and the girls just watch and talk mostly except for Cherry. The night is fun and goes well, but I don't really talk to anyone. I'm pretty sure She told them that I don't know how to speak well, but I definitely understand them. The meat if fairly plain as we only have pork belly along with a low powered grill. When most of us finish eating, we bring out the birthday cakes everyone got her. My uncle bought her the Pikachu cake, but Cherry decides to save that one for Namwan who went home. The birthday song they did was honestly awkward. At first no one was signing happy birthday to her. Then they all joined along with a clapping beat, and it was unclear when it would stop. But eventually it did, and Cherry fed everyone cake with a single spoon, then cake to the face. One of her friends got bombarded so much she had to wash her face off three times.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
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by @phichitinsyxiengmai

ค น โ ส ด ก็ เ ห มื อ น ต้ น ไ ผ่ ข้ า ง น อ ก ดู แ ข็ ง แ ก ร่ ง เ พี ย ง ใด แ ต่ ข้ า ง ใ น มั น””ว่ า ง เ ป ล่ า””

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
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by @cherry_luangphan

🎈🎈🎈Thanks friends everyone 😂🎂🎂

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
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by @let.sysomphone

ອາດິດເປັນຂໍ້ຄິດ...ປະຈຸບັນຄືຄວາມຈິງ...
Morning...😉😉

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
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by @mac_thinnapop

เรารักธรรมชาติ ธรรมชาติก็รักเรา

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
0

by @bennnaayy

Day 27.1 | The Taste That Was Once Green.

1430 / 0030 pst
Took a nap before the kids come home for about an hour or so. Waking up, I was unfortunate enough to get bitten by a mosquito that slipped into my room. I got bit on the sole of my right foot, and on one of my left foot toes. The skin on my feet is thick so it doesn't bulge out like the other bites, but it's irritating to walk on.

1752 / 352 pst
Once I get up from my nap, Cherry asks me for help with English again before she goes off to study with her friends. She studies off a hand-me-down English textbook that has things written in already, but some of these are either incorrect or at least just grammatically incorrect, so I go through the chapters with her with the right answers as well as pronouncing vocabulary.
I end up going further through the chapters myself and filling in the sentence blanks on another paper and fixing the grammatical errors too while she's off doing whatever it is she's asked to do by my aunt.

1902 / 502 pst
We eat dinner with a bunch of family members at our home this time and I get to try the bird laap. It's pretty good, not as gamey as I thought the meat would be. In the soup that they made, it's similar to any other soup if made with chicken or pork.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
0

by @bennnaayy

Day 27 | The Taste That Was Once Green.

830 / 1830 pst
I wake up later than usual, even tho Pinky still bothered me to get up this morning by throwing up my blanket. When I get up, I chill by my grandma like usual. But this time, instead of my aunt buying crickets or fish in the morning, she has two bags full of birds. These birds are nicely green with a grey top. I found online that there were common emerald doves. Pricy birds to buy, but my aunt got a deal. My uncle comes back out with one of the birds and ties one of their legs with string attached to a water bottle as to not fly away. This bird was stressed and frightened to the point of not moving. It was very tamed but would try to fly away when you try to touch it. This bird knew it's fate and never tried to fly outside, even when given the opportunity. It found comfort in crevices and darkness like under the bed. Eventually we left it alone long enough that it was comfortable enough to take a nap standing up.

1130 / 2130 pst
Once the kids come back, my other uncle calls me over to eat. I haven't eaten yet, but I'm also still not too hungry. I only eat until I'm satisfied.
After lunch, my uncle starts the defeathering process on the birds we bought. He kills them swiftly. One strike to the head on a metal bike and they're gone. I bring the tied up bird to sit with the rest as his final goodbye. He sits in front of the bag of birds in silence, only watching. My uncle tells me not to take pictures of their defeathering because 'they are embarrassed.' With their feathers off, my uncle takes them to the fryer until they're golden.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
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by @kesone_savanhphet

#แดดจะทำให้เราร้อน ☀☀แต่ถ้าเราอ้อนทำให้คุณรัก😍😍😚

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
2

by @bennnaayy

Day 25.1 | A Slightly Daring Experience.

1307 / 2307 pst
Everyone gathers in front of the TV to watch the traditional boat race happening right now. I'm too exhausted and decide to take a nap. I wake up in time to say goodbye to Johnny as he leaves back to Vientiane to go to school.
1735 / 335 pst
I go over to my aunt's place and eat the same thing here as I did for lunch at home. Pinky calls Cherry through my phone and she eventually comes over after we finish eating. They decide to take a ride on the motorcycles to refill my cousin's bike at the gas station as well. After hearing that I rode the motorcycle with Johnny, they let me ride it to our destination. Pinky goes halfway to the gas station riding with me but is across of my driving. It's just my first day, I'd consider myself to be doing well.
2000 / 600 pst
My parents, uncle, and aunt all leave to go eat at a relatives place but I decide to stay as I had already eaten. When they leave, I decide to get a workout in. I've done a couple of calisthenics workouts since I've been here. There's no make-shift weights to throw around, so I make use of what I can find, but mainly stick to ground workouts. Upstairs, Cherry is ironing her clothes and sticking up some of her uniforms. Pinky is also around the house doing laundry, and sometimes comes to bother me during my workout. I try to teach them a handstand and also to do a headstand. It's all failed attempts but it's something new for them. I didn't expect many people here to even be on their hands a lot because the ground can get pretty dirty. Some homes don't even have tile floors, so it's understandable.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
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by @bennnaayy

Day 25 | A Slightly Daring Experience.

850 / 1850 pst
Pinky's upset this morning cause she lost her phone yesterday, when in actuality, Namwan hid her phone. After I told my parents why she was acting like a brat, the family started searching for it and my grandma had found it under the bed she was laying on.

1054 / 2054 pst
Johnny and I take the motorcycle to our cousin's house to go fix their car that they just got back. It's an old automatic Ford vehicle, belonging to the owner's father who passed. While there, Johnny is greasing up the slider for the driver seat, but after putting it back in the car, it still has trouble moving back and forth. The passenger seat is missing it's head rest because it needed to be repaired. So we go to another house to get head seat bars fixed. It's made using rusty bolts welded together, but it ended up being too long so he had to cut it anyways. He finished adding the bars to the head rest, but told us to put it on.
While we're leaving, I convinced Johnny to let me drive the car back home and he let me. The only problem I had was that I couldn't see the potholes fast enough a lot of times to completely avoid them. The car was too low and I was traveling fast. The brightness from the sun did little to help my vision on the ground. It's been almost a month since I last driven a car. It felt good being able to drive again.

1209 / 2209 pst
When we get back and return the car to our cousin's home, Johnny asks if I wanna learn to drive the motorcycle, and of course I say yes. He brings me to his old highschool, now attended by Cherry and Pinky. I to well up until I'm finishing a lap around the school. One area slightly covered by tall grass is muddy, and I drive through it without knowing. The motorcycle slips and we tilt slightly but I stop the call with my foot into the mud, losing my slipper. I go wash off at the nearby lake. I practice going around the school one more time and have improved significantly. Johnny gives me the okay to ride back home. It's a smooth ride all the way back. Much easier on the road than the bumps of a field and much easier going faster speeds than slow.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
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by @miewwnoyy

ᴋɪɴ ɴᴜᴍ ᴋʜᴏɪɪ ʙᴏʀ

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
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by @bennnaayy

Day 24.1 | Leisure Luxury

1600 / 200 pst
Cherry comes downstairs with a black back full of boxes. We take it to my aunt's place and I open it up. It's full of online shoes that she sells through WeChat and Facebook. On the table, there are fake Chinese Yeezy's, Michael Kors and Rolex's. I can feel that the quality is poor as opposed to the real things, especially the watches. But from what I can tell, the people here are for the looks. Even so, fake Yeezys shouldn't cost 900HKD ($114). Afterwards, my cousin asks Cherry to go to the market, so I just go along for the ride.

1824 / 424 pst
We go to my aunt's home a few blocks away as they invite us over for Kow Piak and wonton noodles. Johnny rolls up in a newly repaired car. After eating Pinky and Namwan invite me out to ride bikes along the temple. Even though I had already showered, I decide to join them. I end up sweating more again, but when I get home I just cool off using the fan.

2048 / 648 pst
While relaxing on the ground in the living area, I notice something big moving across the floor in my peripheral. A scorpion waltzing its way alcross the tiled floor seemingly out of nowhere. My cousin Johnny, my dad and I jump to the scene immediately to capture it. It coukd be dangerous as we have kids laying on the floor which it walks. My dad decides cut off its stinger and capture it. After showing it to my aunt, she decides to keep it, most likely to cook it.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
0

by @bennnaayy

Day 24 | Leisure Luxury

551 / 1551 pst
It's early and the power is still out. My cousin Pinky barges into my room and tells me to wake up. She wonders why I have a blanket halfway over myself when my room is so hot. The power is still out from last night, which means there's also no water to shower with. I feel my body itch a little as I get up. I was bit a couple times through the night by a mosquito that snuck into my room last night.

My aunt and the two kids are already outside selling things to eat to the community who are arriving at a steady pace. Cherry tells me to take a bath. The only problem is there's only one available water source in the house. A large bucket, half filled in one of the bathrooms. My mom tells me to take a quick shower, just lather myself in water to wash away the grime.

700 / 1700 pst
I start walking to the temple with Cherry, Pinky and Johnny, as he returned home to Thabôk for the weekend. We sit outside this time because there's so many people here and the temperature continued to rise.

1040 / 2040 pst
We all get back home pretty hungry and hoping the electricity is back on, but it's not. It's get warming as the days go and only have hand fans to cool us off. We all have to conserve the amount of battery we use as Cherry uses up the rest of my power bank charge without me knowing. The baby comes back but Namwam is constantly carrying him as Cherry and Pinky try to interact with him.

1515 / 115 pst
We head to water again today. This time is as unexpected of an adventure as before.bwe go to the flood area again, but perform a U-turn as we pass where we're supposed to go. Off in the flood waters, there's a tiny home with people calling for us. There's our destination over the water. We have to take a boat in order get there. We don't pay for the boat ride until after we leave in case they don't come back for when we wanna go home. It's a small area with little room, but we still manage to cook and eat here. After we finish eating, we call the boat back and decide to walk home rather than drive. It's about a 45 minute walk back.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
0

by @bennnaayy

Day 23.1 | When the Lights Dim.

1721 / 321 pst
We eventually get to Paksan and my uncle points out something random on the side of the road. There's two long cargo trucks parked on the side of the street, known to be used by the Vietnamese. Apparently they're cooking dogs right now and it's a usual site to see.
We arrive at a house unknown to me. Right as I open the truck door to the outside, I'm hit with a wave of warmth and humidity. When I step out, it's hard to breathe. There's dust everywhere because it hasn't rained yet, in order to keep it under control. At certain points during our trip, we could barely see cars in front of us.

1742 / 343 pst
We get to Beung Kan during a beautiful sunset. Across the water we can see Thailand and a pier with a carnival going on all the way along the coast. You can hear a Thai announcer yelling in his microphone. A boat race is going on right now and my uncle is watching the stream on his phone at the same time. We spend about an hour eating by the seaside. The light decor and waterside brings about many different insects but we still eat like they aren't there.

2154 / 754 pst
As I'm laying in my room on my phone, the light begins to dim and the aircon slows. I decide to turn off the light as I'm not using it. 5 minutes later, my aircon shuts off. The entire neighborhood electricity is out. It's completely dark outside. There's only the sound of crickets and cars passing by. No one's able to sleep because of the heat. The kids and I gather downstairs in the open area and just hangout for awhile before attempting to slumber in the wicked humidity.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
0

by @bennnaayy

Day 22 | Thabôk Life.

733 / 1733 pst
I get woken up by the kids again but I don't get up until 8.
810 / 1810 pst
It's finally laundry time for me, without the help of Cherry this time. I mess up as it was draining the water when I was filling the machine. I was wondering why it wasn't filling up. I had to twist the knob to say wash instead of drain, but it was behind an open lid so I never saw it. These machines put in water manually, so we have to pull a hose through from outside to fill it up.

1230 / 2230 pst
I take a nap for a little bit, then get greeted by a little chubby baby. He's only 5 months old. The temperature is getting warmer and warmer, so much so that it's starting to be unbearable. I sit out with just a fan blowing at me while my parents are in my grandma's room with the AC on.

1701 / 301 pst
My older cousin comes over to hangout and eventually take Namwan home, but out of nowhere, Pinky tells me to get on the bike with my uncle. I hop on like I've been on a bike all my life and we drive to my grandma's land to get gather some of her fresh coconuts. I had no idea that there was an outer layer to coconuts. It was a very physical process to get the outer shell open.

2000 / 600 pst
As I lay in my room, I decide to finally watch some anime that I stored on my other phone. I only get 10 minutes into a movie, when Pinky opens my door and asks for help with her English homework.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
1

by @cherry_luangphan

ໃສ່ບາດຕາມຮີດ12ຄອງ14ເຮົາ❤️
#ຫໍ່ເຂົ້າປະດັບດິນ😊🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
0

by @bennnaayy

Day 21 | Flood Water Adventures.

800 / 1800 pst
The kids woke me up today cause they thought I was oversleeping. By the time I had gotten up, kids had already left for school.

1100 / 2100 pst
There's not much that happens, I just get put on baby duty. When the kids come back from school for lunch, my mom asks them to buy papaya salad. But the one they bought was extremely spicy, hitting my throat almost instantly causing me to cough. Water doesn't help much.
After the kids leave back for school, I'm back on baby duty. I believe his name is Idea. He doesn't cry anymore by just looking at me, when u first met him. Everyone is either out the house or sleeping except me. I watch cars pass by and throw around dust and debris while munching on banana chips.

1730 / 330 pst
We up and leave out of nowhere. The youngest and oldest cousin get in the back of a truck. This truck has a hydrolic lift for the back cover, so it's raised only slightly with us in it as we're cruising the road. We go past the flooded area, to another flooded area, but the water is cleaner. I remember coming here before with my dad during the first few days of my arrival. There were people living in the house we visited and fishing, but now it's deserted as the flood water fills the entire house up to your knees. My uncle washes his car as the rest of us get out to enjoy the water. Just down the street, there's a fisherman in a red shirt, able to catch only the smallest of fish. I play in the water with my cousins and avoid the passing cars and trucks that are able to go through the flood waters.

2000 / 600 pst
After dinner, my cousin Cherry comes over to me with a little English textbook. It looks to have been handed down to her as there was already writing inside it while we were on the first few pages. She's already pretty good at reading and writing English, but she has trouble with verbs and nouns. I practice with her throughout the night, while at the same time, Pinky is asking me to draw for her a flower native to Laos, but my drawing skills weren't to her liking.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
1

by @bennnaayy

Day 19 | Back to School.

850 / 1850 pst
It's the third of September, and even here school starts at the same time for the kids. The house is quiet without them. I do my usual time of sitting with my grandma, watching cars and people pass by.

1050 / 2050 pst
I go to see a flooded area where the water is up to your knees on the road. It's impossible for lower cars and motorcycles to get across without flooding their engines, so there are cars lined up to pay to get their car towed across the flood waters safely. The locals gather here to watch the spectacle and some bring their favorite hauling machines to make good money helping people out. The flood water is new and dirty at the moment. It's sudden rise has scatter insect and animal life. What I thought was miss on a concrete pillar was actually a horde of stranded ants and beetles.

1200 / 1200 pst
All the kids have come back from school to eat lunch at home. They'll be going back to school again at 1 to finish up the day.

1430 / 0030 pst
Today's a slow day, I'm on baby duty as the kids are away and the adults take a break. Later the kids have finished school and returned home. Cherry quickly leaves to prepare dinner at another house that we'll be eating at. Pinky comes out of her room and asks me for help with her English studies. I help her out, trying not to just give her answers. She's good at writing, but reading and speaking are her weak points, always asking me how to say every word and spell it out for her.

1900 / 700 pst
We leave for dinner at our other cousin's house. Cherry is already there and everyone has set up dinner outdoors as there are many of us. I ate much less than I usually do. My appetite isn't strong today. Everyone just mingles and talks to one another until the night is over. We eat outside as there's too many of us to be able to fit sitting at a table inside. As I'm sitting playing on my phone, I look up to the wall and notice that there are about 20 lizards on the wall outside of the house. They don't move much and just plant themselves sideways. It's common to see these lizards here at night but I've never seen so many at once in the open.

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
0

by @simenvogt

Captain Bounsouk is taking me to site today.

#laomainroad #flood @SNpower #theunhinboun

Ban Thabôk, Vientiane, Laos
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