Published for the Royal Geographical Society by J. Murray,
Text on page 57
TEE UPPER MEKONG, SIAM.
the time. The town is clustered round the hill, and, except on the south, there is water in almost each direction, the Nam Kan coming winding into the big river from the east, just to the north.
The people, among whom slavery was abolished a few years ago by Phya Surasak, who went up as the Siamese general to quiet the Black Flags, are a very independent race, and, possibly mindful of a powerful past, think somewhat of themselves, and do very little manual labour. The men, I regret to own, are very much addicted to opium; stealing is not absolutely
Unknown, and generally the code of plan of luang prabang and rivee. morals is not as severe as in Nan. The
women, instead of the timidity and shyness to which we had been accustomed so far (so that, when they could, we always found the Women bolt into the jungle at the sight of strangers, or at least retire), showed a very free and easy manner, and are much addicted to giggling and chatter.
The industrious sounds of the foot rice-mills are hardly ever to be heard in the town ; and the market, instead of taking place in the early dawn, that the dayas work may not be interfered with, lasts roughly from dawn to sunset, with the exception of an hour or two at noon. All down the main street, which runs between the hill and the river, the ladies sit behind their baskets, flirting with the men, who cruise up and down with apparently not much else to do. This market is a very big affair, and besides the usual endless fruit, cigarettes and flowers, there are huge steaks of pla reum, ducks, ducksa and hensa eggs, pigs dead and alive, opium lamps, Japanese matches, needles and pins, cotton, coarse cotton cloth, tobacco, and a fair sprinkling of Manchester goods. Among the people one sees besides the Laos of the place, are Nan Laos, Lus, or Khache, and various hill tribes remarkable for their scanty clothing,* Chinese, Shan traders from up the Nam Oo, Haws, and Burmese. At the time of my visit, the French consulate was across on the other side of the river, M. Ducant being in charge there. There is also a French store with all sorts of French goods, connected with the a Syndicat du Haut Laos.a These goods I found most unpopular with the people, and when I bought
* Such us the Ka Hoks.* Such us the Ka Hoks.