A morning with the Akha Phouly, from the village behind the cliff.

A morning with the Akha Phouly, from the village behind the cliff.

It was dark when we arrived at the Muang Long market and the vendors themselves were still arriving and claiming their square. The Akha Pouly women were over in the corner, and it felt good over there. I would go around the market to see what was for sale, take another turn to see what had sold, but, I best liked the corner with the Akha women. I was an outsider and it felt they were also, back there, in their corner. 

I bought some tamarind from one, a cluster for 1,000kip. I only had a 2,000 note so told her to keep the change, she was surprisingly overjoyed. I tallied up her produce for sale, some fern, a vegetable, more tamarind, all-in-all about 10,000kip. Say, our guide, came over and asked where these women were from. The village behind the cliff, they said, about an 8 kilometre walk. My thoughts immediately were that is a long way for just over a dollar in sales. 



Within two hours the market was packing up, many had sold the edibles that once were a pile in front of them. So we headed to the village behind the cliff, parked the truck and walked down the main street. This village had a lot of charm. A clean main street lined with neat houses. Young women were ducking indoors, partly dressed in their traditional finery. They were coy, however quickly revealed there was a wedding on that afternoon. Whilst they were still adding pieces to their elaborate headdresses, we wandered over the wedding house. It was a surpising mix of Akha tradition and modern Lao ceremony.  Everyone was very welcoming and the children shy but curious. Hanging about we observed the many blankets arriving as gifts for the bride and groom and beverages as well. As we left the receiving line was in place, and we were convinced there was going to be much eating, drinking and dancing that afternoon. 


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