Monday, June 05, 2006

Lazy in Laos

Ok, I admit it, I have been rather slack in the whole keeping you up to date thing..This was supposed to be easy and regular. I promise to lift my game, but didn't realise that nearly a month has passed since my last update.

So I am back in Laos, Vientiane to be precise, the capital. Not a real happening place, esp on a Sunday, yesterday I could have shot a gun in the main street yesterday and not even hit a stray cat. Took us 3 attempts to find a restaurant open for dinner!

Speaking of guns, there is this crazy guy in Luang Prabang (Laos) who goes around town dressed in combat gear and has a plastic rifle which he points at you while holding his other hand out for money. Once you get over the shock you can tell him no. But not content with that, I saw him sitting on the front step his house smoking a pipe (clearly not tobacco) and then he went inside, came out in a sarong, a conical hat and holding a sickle and same routine begging money, but wait, there is more, apparently he also has the sarong and old shaking man routine as well!

So, last time I wrote I was in Hoi An, getting some new shorts, very good. Might have to get some more as my favourite boardies are looking a bit worn...and seem to have shrunk in the wash...actually all my pants seem to have suffered from shrinking...mmm!! Honestly, I have slowed down on the beer, I am convinced this job will make me an alcoholic if I am not careful.

After Hoi An was HCM City where I picked up my next group of victims. Unfortunately, 7 out of the 9 were with another leader in Vn who was next one down from Buddha in their eyes, so I couldn't live up to his standard. I felt I had a so-so trip, I was tired anyway from partying too much in the first 3 weeks, but they gave me a good tip, so must have liked me, though only got one (not so good) feedback, so maybe they really won't bother.

Intrepid then gave me a week off, so I went to Koh Samui with Niall & Melanie from the training trip. I had a great time on the beach, eating, reading and swimming. After they left I did a 1 day sea kayak trip which was excellent (thank god for tip money). I had a great day out, met a nice British army lad (didn't get his email...bugger), kayaked, snorkeled and swam. Finally dragged myself back to BKK, and was shocked that they charged me 300 baht (A$10 as domestic departure tax!)

This group..well 6 ladies, one of whom is an Intrepid Leader from the UK. The others are 4 young UK and one Aussie who should never have been let out of The Entrance (Central Coast NSW) let alone out of Australia! If she asks me where McDonald's is again I think I will hit her. Though Jo checked the internet, the next one is in BKK in 3 weeks! They so far have managed to avoid eating Thai or Laos food unless there is no other option, like where we stopped at a temple one day, and the Aussie is not interested in learning about the culture...why is she even here?

Tomorrow we go to a Laos rural homestay...that should be funny, no McD there and loads of kids that they have to play with, it is not optional. I have also some 'local' Vietnamese places lined up that will surely turn their stomachs and send them running to the supermarket for supplies.

Oh, I got to pat a tiger in Luang Prabang (hee hee Cheryl). She was rescued from poachers in 2001 and saved from being traded to China for exotic meat. She is quite big and healthy now and we bought her some buffalo meat and put it on skewers and she climbed up to get it. Hopefully will have a great shot to put up as soon as I get it off the pax camera. Then we fed the bears bananas. They too were rescued from poachers and saved from the trade where they drain their gall bladder for bile for medicinal purposes. Cute too, esp the babies. We had a swim at the waterfall while we were there too...because we could.

I hope this is not too long. I promise to get some pics and do better, but it will be next week as I am now heading off into internet void land for a few days and besides, all you Aussies that are having a long weekend won't be waiting for my updates! I want your news of your long weekend adventures and photos, esp if snow is involved...oh snow...oh cold does that work again?

OK, take care then from Loas land.


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