For some reason, badminton is the most popular sport in Laos, followed closely by football (soccer for my American friends).
I see people playing it everywhere. On the street, on the sidewalk, at the Wats, at the bus station, everywhere. And I see people selling badminton nets and rackets everywhere.
The nieces and nephews of my landlord have a pretty sweet set-up in our courtyard. They strung up the net between a coconut tree and one of the buildings, and have actually painted on the ground the outlines of the court, which it seems were measured with a very calculated precision.
I have seen the kids playing badminton in the courtyard many times, but was always too busy/sweaty/tired to join them. Yesterday I made my debut on the badminton court, and it was a lot of fun. Firstly, all of the 8 year-olds are far better than me, and play extremely competitively.
Though none of them speak any English, I have learned to count in Lao, so I did comprehend that my team won one game, and lost another game, though generally they play on some kind of rotation system, with team members switching in and out and game pauses to lift the net everytime a motorcycle or car comes along . I am hoping to make playing badminton with the kids a regular activity.
Also, one of the dogs belonging to my landlord recently had puppies, so there are a bunch of cute little baby dogs running around the yard. They all growl at me when they see me, but that has not deterred me from trying to play with them.