Laos: Giant Catfish
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Lesson: Giant Catfish in the Mekong River

Setting the scene:

      The family travels by train from Bangkok through Udorn to Laos. They must jump off at the Nong Khai train station and cross the Mekong River bridge. Thai and Lao are fairly similar languages - somewhat like Spanish and Italian are to each other. On this trip, Dad hires a Lao man named Wilat to take the family in his Songthaew [a taxi truck with two benches that passengers sit on]. They begin in the capital city of Vientiane.

People in This Story:
  • Dad; Mel; Mom; Wes; Wilat (Songthaew Diver)
  • Brand Name or Company Name item is in green.
  • Slang terms are linked to the Slang Dictionary. Click on the term to view its meaning.
  • "Speed Talk" is in pink; meaning is in [brackets].


    Dad:       Look, kids are skinny-dipping in the Mekong River.

    Mel:       They aren't the only people in the water. Some fisherman are near the bank. Can we see if they caught anything?

    Dad:       Yes, let's take a look.

    Mel:       Looks like some boys caught a big fish.

    Wes:       Look at the size of that giant catfish. It's a whopper!

    [Back in the Songthaew, Wilat points our local sites.]

    Wilat:       That is the Victory Monument. It is located at the center of town. Next, I'll drive you to the outskirts to admire Pha That Luang, our most important city temple.

    Mom:       I'm having second thoughts about shopping at a local market. I'd rather see places around town. Wilat, what else is worth seeing in Vientiane?

    Wilat:       There is the Buddha Park in Laos. The same monk built another park across the Mekong River in Nong Khai.

    Wes:       Can we see the Plain of Jars? I heard that is an interesting place to see.

    Wilat:       Oh, no. That is too far from here. Sorry, but I cannot drive that far.

    Wes:       That's a tough bounce. Guess we'll have to take a pass this time.

    Mom:       Better luck next time, Wes. Perhaps we can return to Laos in the future and see upcountry areas.

    Mel:       I doubt there's even an outside chance for that. There are so many countries for us to visit. In fact, where does Dad's company want him to go next?

    Mom:       We must be in Mexico this Thursday.

    [The family travels to Mexico City and discuss various modes of travel. They also view a Monarch butterfly site in central Mexico. Click here to see the following story: Butterfly Snow.]

  • © Page Publisher: Duane R. Hurst