Perspectives Abroad

politics, culture, language – south east asia

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.

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3 Comments»

  Di wrote @

I can’t wait to taste that mint sauce when I’m out there. Your descriptions of the sights and sounds are visceral enough to make me feel like I already know the place.

I’m glad you’re posting! 🙂

I’ve been sipping coffee on a clear, sunny Vancouver Saturday morning, watching a beautiful bunch of tulips – bright in orange and yellow – reach up toward the pale light outside the window. Mere buds last night, they’ve opened up quickly this morning. Rejuvenating on the sill, like that. A welcome sight amid the debris of empty bottles and dirty dishes left behind.

Thinking of you today.

  andy & milo wrote @

crap – I don’t think I can read anymore of your blogs without knowing what a tuk tuk is?? Maybe you should be a glossary of terms at the end of each post… jk. I am sure those girl’s parents will be happy to know that their babies are safe and it will be easy to identify their bodies should anything go wrong on the Mekong!

  andy & milo wrote @

PS I am glad that everyone can still get a good laugh out of AFV type accidents. Ha Ha – now you all have to pretend that you know what AFV means!


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