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

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