More of Laos’ Wildlife Ends Up On A Wall in Attapeu.
In the Snake Skin Restaurant, Attapeu, Laos.
Wandering around the back streets of Attapeu in southern Laos, I came across a very unusual barbecued meat restaurant on an anonymous side street leading down to the Sekong river.
We strolled inside to discover walls full of animal skins, mounted heads and huge snake skins from when Attapeu actually had a jungle nearby, in the years before it was corrupted, cleared and colonized by Vietnamese Rubber Barons.
Skins stripped from enormous boa constrictors, neatly serrated animal skins and a variety of unusual-looking jungle animal pelts adorned the walls. The heads of water buffalo and other jungle animals stared accusingly down as we tucked into their barbecued selection of meat from who-knows-whats.
Attapeu seems to be where much of Laos’ wildlife meets its grisly end, to be then hung, in an increasingly tattered and battered state, as wall decorations (also check out the Souksomphone Hotel at the link below).
The restaurant had a distinctly ominous feel to it, aside from us being the centre of attention as curious locals stood in front of our table, watching us eat.
We ate quickly and exited into the dark night, slightly relieved to be out of there, but I made detailed notes on it when I went home and included it in the plot of BACK, as a place where the backpackers in the novel visit before going on their jungle trek to the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
On a recent visit, I went back during the day to take the accompanying photos. It still felt oppressive in daylight, although when the owner came out and discovered we were taking photos in his closed house-restaurant he was extremely friendly and welcoming. It turned out he was Laotian and not Vietnamese, which we’d pretty much guessed as soon as he smiled at us, this being unfriendly Attapeu and all.
Declining another meal, we went on our way, promising to return another time.
See the trailer for our new film, M.I.A. A Greater Evil. Set in the jungles of Laos and Vietnam, the film deals with the possible fate of US servicemen left behind after the US pulled out of the Vietnam War.
And for POWs left behind in Laos:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
BACK Parts 1 and 2:
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