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Mekong river boat journey: Houixai, Pakbeng to Luang Prabang: 09 - 14 Feb 2007
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Grinding mill to produce cooking oil from ground nut
Hand operated grinding mill to produce ground nut cooking oil in Ban Kok Ek village (Hmong people).

Within recent several years these villages in the Hongsa district became suppliers of timber in mass quantity for the construction of so-named modern traditional luxury accommodations, green resorts and spas, etc. in Thailand, Luang Prabang and Vientiane. Some of the money they received from timber business are spent to buy imported items such as factory-made packed foods, boat engines and construction materials. This hand mill may not be used any more in the next few years time.

A turkey in Ban Kok Ek
A turkey.

A cargo boat on the Mekong
A cargo boat on the Mekong river. These boats are used for transport of various products and equipment and machines up and down the river. One of their main load is timber log. They also transport elephants, timber extraction workers and gear to and from the logging ports. As on the passenger boats, these boats have a structure housing engine room in the bottom, storage, crew and men living quarters, and a wheel room.

As they are bigger and heavier than passenger boats the draught (draft) is usually higher. Thus when sailing, especially in low waters, someone needs to take measurement of water depth using a stick or bamboo to avoid grounding.

Visitors on the boat doing paint works
Our boat passengers are part time painters. They do painting as a hobby while traveling. They are also learning various techniques of drawing and graphic arts. They all come from Europe: Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Our small group special interest tour used as much local materials and services as possible for the local economy. While we were visiting a small village we bought locally made products when we liked them, but our members did not give any freebie such as sweets to children because we believe such careless action could make them beggers, and give them bad perception of life.

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