On the way back we took the new road next to Pakse Airport. This road cuts through the rice farms, including aunt Phone’s family farm. The new airport in under construction at the moment and Ban Houaylao is cut off from the main road since the village was split in half by the expansion of Pakse Airport. The new airport extends all the way to Ban Phonsikhay and the airport new fence is only a few meters from my Grand-Mama’s house. Many houses along the road from Pakse Airport to Ban Phonsikhay have been relocated due to the expansion of airport runways.

I was shocked to see the back of Phonsikhay Schools when we drove by the elementary and middle school. The back of the school is less impressive than the front and the middle school looks worse than what I have seen in photos from Laovoices.com. At least there is a sign of life with the construction of the new school. Those poles have been standing there for too many years and too long.

Aunt Phone showed me where she had her mother cremated. At Ban Phonsikhay it is no longer possible to have a cremation ceremony there due to a new health law and the villagers will have to travel to a designated spot for a funeral. However if you have a land, far away from the homes then you can cremate a body, as in the case for aunt Phone’s mother a few years ago. It was her mother’s wish to be cremated on her land and have her ashes thrown away in the Mekong River. Only a tiny amount of aunt Phone’s mother was kept in a Tad at Wat Phonsikhay.

The highlight of the ride back home was finding more water buffaloes. Since I told the relatives about Nye Noona (Ginger) and her water buffalo in Thailand, they are often on the look out for a buffalo so I can make photo and when we are on the road, the phrase “tye mair, tye houp hai Ginger berng mair” is constantly being repeated. For today it was a recording with a message to Nye Noona at 1:14 with “khuay khuay, hai Nye berng der nee der”.

The first 17 photos are taken after we left Wat Yua Deng. On the 18th photo you can see a plane leaving Pakse Airport. There are more daily flights now from this airport and after the completion of the new airport, Pakse Airport would be the hub of the south for sure.