DSC07741At Bamboo Lounge  our Lao staff are always buzzing around: doing the dishes, clearing the dust off of the furniture, sweeping and – most of all – mopping the floor. Every spare minute, you’ll find one of the girls mopping the floor with hot soapy water.

Of course, it has been us westerners who have taught the girls to keep everything nice and clean. Hygiene is something that most Lao people have never heard of. Therefore, mopping the floor is a good thing. But sometimes the girls get a bit too enthusiastic…

Little Noi is probably the most fanatic of them all. Even if one of the other girls mopped the floor just five minutes ago, Noi is getting ready to do it once more. And while mopping, she is talking as if her life depends on it. Unfortunately I cannot yet tell what she is saying, but considering the volume of her speech, it must be a story of great importance.

And don’t you dare to disturb her in her cleaning activities! If one of us needs to go in the direction where she has just been mopping the floor, she will interrupt her story and just yell: ‘Stop! Stop cip nathi!’ So, you cannot move for ten minutes, until the floor is dry again. If you do try, Noi will try to make you sit down for nung suomong, one hour…

So far, so good. The girls obviously got the principle of hygiene and are trying their best to keep the standards up. But when it gets busy, it can get a little dangerous, since wet tiles can be very slippery. So at those times, Noi will have to be stopped by us. ‘Noi, Stop! Please stop mopping the floor! Stop for nung suomong!’

WILKE MARTENS