Sunday, September 19, 2010

Barbeque & Beers

Dinner the other night was a la Andrew - i.e. we had a BBQ.  We purchased a bag of charcoal during the market shopping trip and it was used in a ceramic pot/burner and using a cake cooling rack. 

Sausages were found, not at the Aussie butcher, but at a European butcher & charcuterie called Olla.  Teamed with carrots and beans it was a lovely meal.  The house staff were a little bemused with the process!

In the evenings we have all sat outside and had our beers in the cooler evening temperature.  The family, us, and the staff (driver & his wife & 14 month old, and the gate-keeper) all sit around and drink the local Beerlao - an EXCELLENT lager.  The staff buy bottles from a stall around the corner.  We have not been drinking much but the shopkeeper asked if his boss was drinking the beer, or if he was showering in it.

After dinner we had a fascinating experience.  We were invited by the driver to visit his old apartment.  Before he drove for the family here he was a taxi driver and lived in a 2 x 2 by the garment factory.  Translated, this meant a concrete room 2 metres by 2 metres. Many of the occupants are workers at the garment factory which employs 1500 people.  There are no cooking facilities and the shower is a concrete trough from  which you can pour water over yourself.  In the complex there were 13 families, and most families would have 4 members.  So with one large trough and 2 toilets the monthly rent was US$50 per month.  We have been told that a building site labourer will earn about NZD $9 per day.

The people there welcomed us so generously.  Beer was brought out and we were all given a glass.  Afterwards we found that normally there is one glass, and it is handed around the circle.  There is a habit of clinking glasses every 3 or 4 minutes as someone feels the need to do so.

Sitting there, we watched dogs wandering around, a family of 3 ducks walked through, motorbikes coming and going, and a stream of people wandering off for their 'shower'.

These people lead tough lives, yet seemed happy.  They were very kind to us.

This interesting experience finished only as the heavy rain began to pour down.

1 comment:

  1. Love the ingenuity on making a BBQ. And it sounds like you have been welcomed with open arms by the locals already. They sound like a very warm and open people.