31 for 21: Birthdays Lao Expat Style

I've never been only been to one baby or toddler birthday in the US but I suspect it varies a bit from a birthday party here. This weekend we went to our pal Barney's party and all the classical local features were present. Just like they were at Nava's party and all of those of her friends in the past year ;)

Rule #1: Alcoholic drinks will be served to guests (hey its the parents call whether to share them with their little one right? ;) And I don't just mean the hostess will offer you a small glass of something. I mean there will be a fully stocked bar table set up with choices of wine, beer, and in some cases, liquor.

Rule #2: There will be a paddling pool (actually Nava broke this rule). Its the tropics. A paddling pool is always welcome.
paddling pool-like feature at Nava's

Rule #3: Kids of all ages and sexes will get naked and in the pool, even when they've just arrived in their party frocks.

Rule #4: There will be nannies around. Parents can enjoy rule #1 more.

Rule #5: Someone will sing Happy Birthday slightly different than you. Mutliple countries, multiple ways to do it.

Rule #6: The creation of the cake will be of major discussion as
              a) good ovens are hard to come by and baking is always an adventure
              b) cake tins are expensive, cake decor is only minimally available
              c) supermarkets don't have cake departments, if you want to buy one rather than bake your choices are from the Hotel (fancy), from the Cake Shop (local), or from one of the ladies in town who bakes at home for sale.

Barney and Nava share the chocolate-chocolate cake philosophy

Technical Note: The above refers to parties of expats in Lao. True Lao parties will strongly follow rule #1, not so much rule #2-3, will substitute cousins for Rule #4, rule #5 is definitely on, and Rule #6 morphs into where cake is purchased as a home oven is a very foreign thing. Rule #7 is that children will be running around with a knife and/or a lighter at some point in the evening.

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