Archive for the 'Laos' Category

Return of the tube, shouldn’t I still be sweating, Frodo and Snore…

The Wandering Nerd April 10th, 2008

I’d mentioned how the timing was all a bit messed up, so technically I was in Vang Vieng for a couple of days with Tabitha and Jamie, then we all headed down to pick up Tim - remember the british drunkard with glandular stink problems from Goa?

After the time in Vientiane it was pretty much decided that Vientiane was too boring, and way too hot so we all went back up to Vang Vieng for more river fun…oh more the fools us… or me anyway. For the sake of the narrative - and the ease on my creative and gesticular resources at the moment, let us assume that the Vang Vieng time was contiguous.

Vang Vieng is a tiny town whose only real offering to the course of the budget traveler is the opportunity to go tubing down a 5km stretch of river punctuated by river bank bars, and rope swings out into the water. Yeah, prodigious amounts of alcohol, silly farang, and 15m high rope swings. Of course we went a few times. They really are pretty full on rope swings:

It’s a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a day, though the last time I went down there was some minor problem with someone having a - minor - heat stroke. Too much sun on top of a sun burn from the day before, not enough water, nor water, add just a touch of a Tiger Bucket (whisky-7up-redbull), let sit and watch the old WN collapse. Great fun, really. Luckily Cam, Jamie and Tabbie were there, along with a Holland couple - Lee and Anna - or I’d have been proper lost.

That aside though I’ve been having a much better time lately. Eris does indeed seem to provide. Tim and I’ve teamed back up for more shenanigans, sadly the girls had to head back up to Chiang Mai for the Thai New Year, so out of the latest batch of traveling companions I’m stuck with the ugliest, smelliest one. So it goes. I must say the last week or so has left many a sore muscle from laughing so hard, so many inside jokes that will now live in infamy, not to mention more obscene jokes than you can shake a dead baby at.

As for everything else, I’ve been having to deal with some non-WN related things lately. Needed to get some things sorted out and taken care of, some things well overdue, some that just came along.

The big news, I’ve been accepted into the University of Melbourne School of Business for my MBA. I’m not sure what this will mean for the site. In the near future I’ll be doing my best to keep it updated, but other things like student loans, student visas, finding a place to live in Melbourne and the new and pressing need to make some money over the summer is taking precedence. All this on limited internet access is turning one or two of my hairs grey.

If anyone knows of a nice apartment for cheap in Melbourne, a goodly paying consulting/contracting job somewhere back in the states plus someplace I can crash while I’m there, or where I can get a decent student loan without talking to a bloke named ‘Vinny,’ please let me know. I’m quite serious about all of the above requests.

I’m not sure what state I’m planning on ending up in back in the states for the summer months, it really does depend on what kind of work I can find vs. accommodation. So if you know anyone looking for a well traveled computer network engineer, you let me know.

Right now I’m yet again back in Vientiane, tomorrow Tim and I are heading back into Thailand, gonna’ make the quick dash across the eastern edge of the country as opposed to the long route around through Laos on our way to Cambodia.

Hokay, river pics:

i hope when you think of me years down the line
you can’t find one good thing to say
and i’d hope that if i found the strength to walk out
you’d stay the hell out of my way
-the mountain goats

Crickets are nummy, more zombies, and jokes you can’t tell your…well, anyone.

The Wandering Nerd April 3rd, 2008

Hokay, this is grossly out of order, but you’ll deal. It’s a convenient way for me to organize how the shit went down.

After Luang Prabang Tabitha and Jamie absconded with me to Vang Vieng - remember that name, there’ll be a quiz - then we rolled on down to Vientiane, Laos’ capital city. As capitals go it’s kinda’ on the short end of the stick. I’m pretty sure my hometown is actually bigger.

It was necessary that I stop in though, I had to get more pages put into my passport - yes it’s possible, and generally most countries want you to have 6 blank pages in your passport to give you a visa - so I had to stop in at the U.S. Embassy. That’s right for the first time in…hell coming up on 9 months I technically set foot on American soil.

When I walked in all of the people working in the embassy were Laotion. Traveling this long does funny things to a person, you get full of funny ideas. Things like never trust Mexican food in India, unless it’s in Germany, the train will be late and always start out with ‘a little bit spicy’ and work from there. Another thing, and the actual relevant one for this anecdote, is that you start talking to people in a form of broken English, free of all those pesky articles and seasoning words that you’re so used to. Case in point, I walked up to the counter and said to the Laotian woman, “Need more pages (flipping through my passport) in Passport, can you do here (pointing to the floor)? How long (pointing at watch) does it take?”

At which point she looked at me like I should be wearing a protective helmet and trying to stick a fork in an outlet and said, “Yes we do, you’ll need to fill out this form and it only takes about an hour, you can wait here if you like.” Oh yeah, like a proper jackass.

I did end getting my extra pages and it turned out to be pretty much painless. It’s pretty sad when you have to go halfway around the world - more than halfway at this point - just to get reasonable service from federal employees. But Vientiane is a ultra chill city, there is a special kind of time here, I think it goes in the following order, there’s Rock and Roll Time, then SCA Time, Goa Time, then Hammer Time and ultimately it’s Laos time. Come to think of it, I don’t recall seeing a Laotian with a watch yet. Strange.

Spent some time out at the “Bhudda Park” which has a staggering number of Buddha statues, the Buddha lying down, calling for water, sitting for meditation, ordering a double pepperoni and ham pizza, break dancing, etc… I should watch that, I think taking the piss with Buddhism here is actually illegal, but you know me, I’m a rebel.

Without further ado, Vientiane:

the Queen of Light took her bow
and then she turned to go
the Prince of Peace embraced the gloom
and walked the night alone
-led zeppelin

Can you swim? I can’t feel my knees, and never, ever again.

The Wandering Nerd March 31st, 2008

Okay so the speedboat ride sucked. The ride itself wasn’t that bad, and the drivers seemed to do a good job, but when you’re your sitting with your knees to your chin for two three hour stints you really start questioning the reasons that led you to such a course, not to mention the very real possibility that your patella may go shooting of into the quickly passing Mekong.

Luang Prabang didn’t have all that much to do other than a federal park with a waterfall and some freshwater swimming holes. The color of which were a perfect aqua. Back in the states we’d spend millions of dollars trying to make a facsimile of what is naturally occuring in Laos. I hadn’t planned on going, but got abducted by a couple of cool American chicks that I’d met back up in Huay Xai. Turned out to be a great time, rope swings were involved, as was general jumping from great heights into water.

Everyone in Laos is pretty much on the same travel circuit, so I keep running into people I’ve met in other places. Just a moment ago a guy I’d met all the way back on Koh Phangan stopped in where I’m writing this. The world isn’t all that big anymore.

Just a few photos from the boat trip and Luang Prabang:

I’m a bit behind in posts, but things have gotten a bit strange.  More coming soon.

Wander out!

yeahhh, your majesty, word flash photography
third class economy, blade slashed your artery
nerve gassed anatomy, blurred past dramatically
herbs hashed, my word splash packed agility
-jurassic 5

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