We arrived back in the village at a quarter to nine in the morning. Khamsouk was in her shophouse, having her make-up done, while her husband was minding the baby. Her hair had already been done earlier that morning, in a in the traditional cone shape of Lao brides.
A thick layer of make-up made her face almost white, and after finishing the eye make-up, her make-up artist started to apply false eyelashes.
All this is not Khmu specific, but generic Lao wedding. Her costume was also traditional Lao style.
I walked around the party site. The villagers had been busy all night cooking up a storm, preparing food for what would turn out to be a party for 400 people.
The salad ingredients had been prepared but not yet assembled. The eggs were cooked soft, and separated in whites which would be added directly to the salad, the soft yolks mixed with oil, fish sauce, salt and lime juice to form a salad dressing.
The village dogs and chickens were scavenging amongst the debris from the cooking storm.
The meat dish (I think a pork stew) was ladled into plates and covered in plastic film to keep the flies off – a relatively recent change as at my first weddings in Luang Namtha about 8 years ago they didn’t use that yet.
On the tables I see a pork lahp, the braised pork in gravy, some fresh green leaves (later identified as probably ‘Asian pennywort’) and packages of sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves.
Salad will be added closer to the time the guests for the reception arrive. With that, a pack of tissues, wrapped chopsticks, spoons, a little bamboo cup for toasting with LaoLao, four bottles of Beerlao, a bottle of water and a bottle of Lao lao (rice whiskey).
The entry to the reception area is adorned with a banner announcing the wedding, plenty of balloons, a box to receive the cash gifts. After the more private official baci ceremony, the bridal party will line up here to receive the guests.
The groom was still walking around in his trackpants and white T-shirt, I suppose guys take a bit less time to prepare. Around nine in the morning, the sound equipment for the band gets delivered and installed.
Around 9.30, the bride emerged from her house, ready to walk up the hill to her parents’ house,where the ceremony was being held.
We walked up with her and her husband.
(will be continued as soon as our internet connection allows)