A Questionnaire for Kids
Laos, © 26.Mar.2003 kN

Question #1

In a small town in your country, with which animals do you cross the street?

  1. llamas and rats
  2. elephants
  3. dogs and cats
  4. gerbils and Snuffaluphagus



Your answer was probably c) dogs and cats.

What about in Laos?

I have almost always lived in cities, so I think of myself as a city girl. Being a city girl, I am used to crossing the street with sometimes dogs and sometimes cats. We are now in Laos, and are spending most of our time in villages. Guess with which animals I now cross and walk down the street?

Peep peep peep! Teeny chicks and skinny chickens cross in front of me, or follow gM down the street. Honk honk! Ducks and their ducklings frequently toddle down the sides of streets. Cows and their calves silently saunter across the street, or quite often simply stand in the middle of it. Finally, big water buffalo heavily lumber across the street, and sometimes boldly sprint as a large group into areas in which they do not belong. Strange to say, but all of this now feels as usual to me as dogs and cats!

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Question #2

What kinds of crawling and flying creatures do you find in your neighbourhood?

  1. bats and cockroaches
  2. iguanas and scorpions
  3. praying mantises and fireflies
  4. ants and spiders



Your answer was probably d) ants and spiders.

What about in Laos?

We regularly sleep in rooms with geckos. Geckos look like little lizards, crawl on walls and on ceilings, and eat insects. I was surprised at how LOUD they can be. This little crawling creature piercingly screams out "Gecko! Gecko!" It is so loud that the first time it screamed over our bed, it didn't occur to me that the sound could be from this small creature.

Walking in our neighbourhood of villages, we often hear the loud sounds of cicadas. The cicada is a small, oval, flying insect which can live for 13-17 years, and are really hard to spot on tree trunks. Even 1 or 2 make a dizzyingly buzzing sound loud enough that it seems like there are 100's of bugs in the trees.

We sometimes see toads and cockroaches, but more often see spiders and ants. We usually see bigger, thicker spiders than in Canada, and it always feels like we are walking through spider webs when walking on paths. More recently, we saw a whole pack of daddy longlegs scurrying in front of us while we crossed down, through, and up a dry river bed. It was funny because they looked like the spiders in Harry Potter's The Chamber of Secrets!

The prize for the most industrious insect goes to ... the ant. It is an insect that I didn't think too much of in Canada, but it is now an insect in the forefront of my mind. We live with ants 24 hours a day. They create highways in our rooms, they congregate on and in bathroom sinks, they of course run on any wall or floor or table, they crawl in our food and drinks, they crawl all over our bodies and clothing, we found them busily scurrying in our Q-tips, and I squish them dead in our bed.

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Question #3

What snacks do you eat on a long bus trip?

  1. crackers and cheese
  2. grapes
  3. nuts and raisins
  4. peanut butter sandwiches



Your answer was probably any of a), b), c), or d)!

What about in Laos?

In Canada, I would probably eat the same snacks as you: crackers and cheese, grapes, nuts and raisins, peanut butter sandwiches, or potato chips. In Laos, guess very differently! Buses in Laos sometimes look like very very very old and run-down city buses that would be too old and run-down for Canada, or most often are pickup trucks with 3 long narrow benches in the back which are covered with a roof. The buses do not stop at rest stops for people to get off. Buses quickly stop on the side of the road to let passengers on or off. In those few minutes, shouting women run to and surround the bus, push snacks inside to passengers who then take a snack and hand money back to the women outside the bus.

What are people eating? People eat sticky rice in plastic bags: sticky rice kind of looks like rice in Canada, can be pressed together like a mini snowball, and is eaten this way with your hands. Sticky rice is usually eaten with grilled chicken, which is spread open on a stick. People eat corn on the cob on a stick, grilled rat spread out on a stick, and bugs on a stick. The bugs are black, 2-3cm long, are grilled, and there are anywhere from 6 to 12 bugs on each stick. People pop each bug into their mouths, chew, and swallow the whole thing.

I only ate corn on the cob on the bus.

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