Perspectives Abroad

politics, culture, language – south east asia

Archive for February, 2009

tucky noodles

there is a big billboard for axe deodorent across the street from where im eating. it is more or less an insult to everything i consider forward & progressive. but here. its downright revolutionary. nice. some sort of cream dripping from her lips.

when you are sitting on a pink plastic stool outside the neon of a convenience store for the second nite in a row, then, well, you know the noodles must be good. which they are. deep fry sugar and garlic with noodles and u just cant say no. is that a cuisine. because damn if i dont plan on ending up here every sat nite for the foreseeable future.

on the way home a semi-long tuk tuk pulls up beside me at the intersection loaded down with uxo’s and “tucky noodle” written on his top sign.

its the future really. decayed elegance. lets call it the nu-dark ages. 2969656569_a323d37e3f


dong gone dong

i’ve always wanted to eat at Dong Deung’s (it;s like there are two ways to say that wrong out loud). So i did. I ordered the vientiane fried beef and some chicken korma. it was insane. basically warm beef jerky dipped in sesame madness. and damn if this cat wasnt just going mental at the expectation of scraps. it was like the last people to eat at this table just fed that cat the meal of the century. i gave the cat some of my korma to make it go away. (i realize now that was bad korma)


img_0578the pa and i feeling dangerous

the bike

Lately, I’ve been getting alot of compliments on my bike. Which annoys me. The bike is grey and has pink flower decals on the cross-bar. On the seat stem it says “Happy free ride me back to the future.” Which I do. It’s a girls bike. That’s not what annoys me, mind you. It’s just that its my second one. The first was stolen. I went through all the just been fucked emotions. Anger at other for being a bastard. Anger at self for being so careless. Bummed over loss of cash money. Anger again about having to fork out more to rent another.

In a ballsy move i didnt leave a deposit this time. Just some bullshit gym ID from 3 years back. Even better, I rented it two doors down from the bike lady I owe money to for the last bike. I feel bad about that. I thought we had something, me and the bike lady. A casual understanding – from renter to rentee. And her dog had puppies that ran around everywhere and nibbled on my ankles when I visited.

There are things I like better about this bike. For one, more dogs chase me. You might think this would be a strike against the bike, but mostly it ends up being a day full of touching Frank Capra moments. Little kids on the side of the street and the ones in the tuk tuks driving by sitting on their parents knees get a huge fun on when they see momma pup with her teets dragging on the gravel going mental at my heels. Admittely, I was startled the first couple of times, but I tend to ham it up now. I’ve developed a nice little non-chalant sway when it happens and give my bell a little ring. (Oh, and the last bike didnt have a bell either)

the ma & the pa



the pa digging on some vietnamese coffee. the ma digging on him.


img_0359the ma was really blown away by the tombs at hue.


the pa getting measured for a shirt. she is standing on a chair. the ma said after the fact  ‘all men should own a short-sleeved black shirt’img_0447the pa waiting for alterations to the black shirt. it was night. it was a little hot. they were busy.

img_0281the ma made friends too.img_0329this is the spot where the ma finally gave up on finding a good glass of white in seasia. the food ruled mind you.img_0360the ma & the pa @ the imperial tomb of a puppet emperor


the only time the pa asked for the camera and took a pic. (we were at angkor wat at the time having lunch). he said “it’s the most amazing thing i have ever seen.” the pa built this stuff out of mechanos when he was 3. and here it was in use in cambodia bringing water to the people.


the ma digging the pa again

lady. boom. boom.

downtown vientiane sat night. nazim’s is unusually pumping. normally my korma’s are eaten in silence. some thoughts that need only one sentence:  i can’t shake this burn on my neck; the owner gets a kick out of mistreating the lao staff; maybe i should boycott this place; i can now tell when backpackers are dressing up for a night out. something more shiny about them.

there’s a restaurant two blocks back that i eat at all the time. all the time. and this ageing prostitute seems to work there. but she cant get the guys anymore. so they made a job for her selling stuffed pokemons on the side of the road.  i dont know if this is touching or depressing.

i think india is winning some sort of cultural meme war that no one else knows is going on. yoga. people. and they created hippies. our whole western counter-cultural movement was fucking india. henna. tikka masala. and oh my god – these fcking pakoras. i think shiva pooed and nazim deep fried it and sent it to me dipped in mint bliss.

you know what else you see alot of on saturdays. wasted aussie girls with magic marker numbers written on their shoulders. this took me a while to figure out. but here it is. when you go tubing viangvien the people who rent you the tubes write it on your arm and in their little book. so if a body turns up in the river they know right away who it is. i love communism.

one night i was having dinner at what we’ll call the “sad old prostitute selling stuffed pokemons” cafe and this tuk tuk pulls up full of overly suntanned kids, who for the sake of saving a couple dollars which they will later spend on beer, sat together in the back of this shithole over bumby dirt roads for 8 HOURS! and these two girls get out. one clearly very ill in the stomach. the other for moral support. run to the back of my restaurant and make some awful noises while im eating. come back out and get back on the tuk tuk and ride off into the night.

(i want to take a bath in this mint sauce)

at night they water the trees along the river. its a big water tanker. on the side it says: transport! communication. SAGAWA. and some landmine-less legs begging on the side got blasted by the watering trees canon. wow. a quiet minute later he came crawling out from soaking wet from behind this tree cackling like a mad man. and then the guy holding the hose on top of the tanker starts laughing. and then magically we are all laughing. hysterical that.


img_0176junk, halong bay

img_0306floating village, halong bay

these dudes rented the kayaks. if you fancied some you told captain junk and he would pull over and they’d tie a couple behind until you reached a spot that just made you say, damn wouldnt it be nice to go kayaking here.

img_0260sunset, halong bay

i didnt know when i snapped the pic, but that lady in the row boat was coming right on over to sell me shit. i ended up buying a beer off her.