Archive for October, 2006

In Luang Prabang Now

October 5, 2006 Leave a comment

Luang Prabang has gone busy and touristy on the main strip. Good thing this tourist is staying on the outskirts of the town. There’s going to be a Bhuddist Lent festival this Saturday and I’m staying until then. Processions of mock boats, boat-races and alms-giving are promised to the stayer.

I’ve been through and around Laos – bumping up and down winding mountain roads. It’s tiring to get to places in Laos but that’s the entire point. Getting there is more fun than being there.

People here are interesting but often I need to initiate conversation with them first. So far I’ve practiced English with a young humble monk, chatted with an Aussie demolitions officer on the finer points of blowing up half-buried American bombs, had a rowdy/ribald lunch with a bus crew (I don’t speak Lao, they don’t speak English), listened to a teacher-in-training expound on the glories of his home province (of course, I was invited to his home for dinner), squeezed my fellow travelers dry of their country’s customs and culture and grilled my guide about BIG OLD jars sitting helter-skelter on mine-ridden plains.

Personal Gripe: I’m often mistaken for a Japanese by everyone! The next one who asks if I’m Japanese will get me speaking psuedo-Japanese (blah blah teh, ano blah blah) to them.

Traveler Note: Laos is still very much off the beaten track (except for a few places. The Americans should have leveled Vang Vieng!). It’s not for the pampered lot who need air-con, pretty roads and can’t eat while squatting beside dusty roads.

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