Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lisu festival meal, Doi Chaang Café

As the sun got more intense, some people moved two tented structures over the area where the dancing was occurring. The dancers barely paused for this and quickly readjusted the size of their circle to accommodate the new space. People would leave and rejoin the circle after eating or taking a short break, but I was amazed at the “die-hards” that were out there. Lunch and refreshments could be purchased inexpensively at several small booths, or you could join the masses near the primary school. Here, long tables were set up with equally long “benches” made from bamboo. A plastic packet of rice was ready at each plate and the servers came around plopping on veggies and pork on each plate. Water, tea, 2 liter bottles of Coke, and fresh ground coffee grown by the Lisu people was also available.

Leaving the festival, we began our drive on a winding, unpaved road at about 1,100 meters in elevation. Along the slopes were organic coffee bushes, planted around 1983 as part of the Royal initiative to provide the Akha people a meaningful income instead of poppies for drugs. Women carrying babies on their backs walked along the side of the road, wearing colorful character socks and sandals. Others were carrying items in woven baskets, including firewood. Along the way to the Akha village, we stopped by the Doi Chaang Café. Here we sampled some of its organic Arabica coffee, grown by the Akha people and part of a joint venture with a small Canadian group. Next to the café were buildings of the coffee academy, where people from all over the world come to learn about coffee growing.

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