The day before the end of the Buddhist lent begins the 2-day final boat races of the province.
First day, in Ban Xieng Mene (crossing the Mekong River in Luang Prabang with the ferry), female final.
Second day (Ock Phansa day), in Ban Xieng Ngeun (30km south of Luang Prabang, through the N°13), male final. The street there is flanked by many makeshift stalls made of bamboo and covered with plastic awning. A choice of Chinese toys and clothes, Beerlao, snacks, and a pile of other things are sold there.
Money games which are normally forbidden, except of course, the National Lottery, are tolerated on the day of the Xieng Ngeun festival, to the Lao’s great delight, as they are very keen on games of money and luck.
A sort of exhilaration reigns over the village which is normally so quiet and which is suddenly invaded by hundreds of people who have come to drink and have fun !
Gradually everybody gather themselves on the other side of the river, thronging around the finishing line. That’s where the cheering is the loudest, its also where you can find the table with all the local VIP’s.
16 boats, each composed of a team of 30+ people will affront each other from mid-morning until the evening if need be. They nearly all come from Luang Prabang.
A few hand made rockets, made with 5m long bamboos, are set off now and again, with more or less success …
NB: The day next, it’s the final in Vientiane.