Tag Archives: Hill Tribes

Opium and Chickens… Northeastern Laos

‘Sabaidee, sabaidee.’

A small wrinkled lady approached us as we ate our rice, smiling. She was an Akha lady, one of the largest ethnic hill tribe groups in northeast Laos, and you could tell by her clothes. She wore the traditional headdress, complete with sliver coins and buttons hanging from her head. ‘2,000 only 2,000’ she said pulling out dozens of handmade cloth bracelets. Politely declining she next produced an array of highly detailed embroidered bags and even when we said no to these this wizened old lady wasn’t giving up on a sale…. “Smoke Smoke” she whispered in our ears, candidly producing a bag of green herbs  – The old lady was trying to sell us drugs! Judging by the look on our face I think she gathered that it wasn’t our thing, but just before she left..”Opium?”.. All we could do was laugh.

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