Ok so I am waaaayyy behind on posting and am now in Chiang Mai, Thailand nearing the end of my journey. So let's catch up a bit and I may gloss over some of the details in an effort to actually get everyone up to date. Pictures are better than my writings anyways.
So stepping back in time. After Duffy leaves, I move into the house of the gentleman that I am here to see and work with, Todd. Their family is running some errands out of town so I will be house sitting, which is a nice respite, to be in a cozy home for a bit. The day before they leave I visit the roastery where they are roasting and cupping a few brews from their incoming crop.
After getting the tour and spending some much needed time with a family and home-cooked meals they departed. I spent the next few days getting to know the town and surrounding region of Phonsavan. I climb every hill in the area, and on one I meet a group of students that clearly come up there frequently for lunch. Naturally, we play guitar together and somehow their instinct is to impersonate Elvis. They enjoyed taking pictures with me and I with them.
Aggie the cat keeps me company at home and I recharge with some essentials. The house's backyard is a pond that the neighbors and kids fish and grow vegetables in.
The next day I bike out on my borrow XR 250 to Keng Mountain and climb the 1,000 steps and ascend to 4,608 ft. It is a heck of a climb but well worth it. The mountain was used by the Pathet Lao during the Vietnam war. There is a bunker near the top that goes all the way to the other side of the mountain. I did not venture inside the bunker as I lacked light and frankly someone else to ensure that the giant cave spiders that inhabit the space didn't kill me.
Soon enough Todd returns and my work begins in earnest. We travel up to the processing/harvest center where the bulk of coffee comes in. From there I begin to learn about their operations in earnest and the engagement with the local communities that live further up the mountain. This center is in the town of Muang Khoun.
Given the number of photos, I am going to break this up into a two-part post. We are moving fast here but it mirrors my emotions during this process as well. My trip was already fast but picked up some serious pace here as I begin waking early to jam-packed days.
As always, check out the coffee that comes from places like this and help us continue engaging with these communities.