I got up at 3:30 AM and took a nice cold shower and got ready for the airport. When my father saw me ironing my clothes, he asked me to also iron his clothes, which I did, along with my mother’s clothes. We waited until 5:00 AM for my aunt come downstairs. When she didn’t my mother called upstairs to make sure everything is ok and we are ready to go. I then asked the maid to lock up the dogs so I can load the truck with the suitcases.
It was a nice drive to the Wattay International Airport. Many people were walking and jogging on the streets. Merchants are also pushing carts to the local market. My aunt said it is a trend for people of Vientiane to get up at 4:30 or 5:00 AM and do their morning exercise by either walking or jogging on the streets before going to work.
When we arrived at the airport there was no one in front of us. It was a smooth process checking in. We were one of the few Lao people at the gate. There were so many farangs (foreigners) that they had to divide the passengers into two flights, with our flight leaving 15 to 20 minutes later.
The flight to Pakse was comfortable. I was afraid of getting motion sickness since I forgot to take my motion sickness medicine with me.
After we landed and have been through customs check, we went to pick up our suitcases. There was a girl working at the airport who pushed a cart toward as I brought down the suitcases from the airport truck. She asked for a certain amount of service fees and my mother took out her purse and gave me the money to count for her. I didn’t know if it was customary to pay the worker at the airport and wanted to see if the farangs were being asked for the fee but didn’t get a chance since our relatives showed up and it was too much commotion going on.
We all went outside, loaded the suitcases on the truck and drove to a village near the airport. We unloaded the suitcases at the home of my father’s niece. We were told my Mair Yar (grandmother) was late getting to the airport and would be awhile before she gets there with the other family members. Since we didn’t eat breakfast yet, my parents decided to go grab some breakfast and do some grocery shopping for lunch.
We all got in a Tuk Tuk that belongs to Aao Ki. I remember him from the time he visited us in Vientiane. He was living with us for a month to help my parents build a fence around our house. I couldn’t believe that I am taller than him. I told him that I still know who he is and didn’t forget how I used to sit on his shoulder and he carried me around at Wat That Luang Festival. I didn’t know how he is related to my father (from his mother or father’s side of the family) but was too shy to ask.
We went to fill up the gas tank and headed for a noodle shop near the Mekong River. I made a comment about how this is the third day that I am eating Feu and feeling like a big fat pig.
After breakfast we went to Pakse markets to buy some fruits, fish, meat, vegetables and herbs to prepare a big lunch for my father’s relatives.