Friday, March 15, 2013

On the otherhand,

so I've got some downtime now for some mandatory foot rest but before I begin to complain in length about that I stop at Laung Prabang. Granted its one saving grace was these amazing lemon tarts. 1/2 off after 3pm. Firm but flaky crust- it was all just right and I don't even normally care about lemon tarts but it swayed me. So you see how now i'm settling and loving something I would've otherwise ignored. We finished the hellish bus ride, cutting through the cloud lines, the hair pin turns, and hit the oppressive heat of the lowlands. I'm probably a midlands sort of person ultimately.

But anyway it was an immediate wave of revulsion or rather, seriously this it? This is the charming post colonial communist land of promise? It was not. It was suspiciously lacking in authenticity. I mean yes, there were people living there, but where was the charm? I can't say. You had the unlimited budget people who were like, oh I just did yoga, and that's a good place for a cappuccino and then the budget freaks who were living on plates of processed food for a $1 a meal. And everyone was going to thee waterfall.  I don't mean to blame my spiritual sensitivity and yet it does sort of kill places sometimes with the harsh reality of what's happening underneath. So as much as I would've liked to traipse about the place in the prototypical hippie balloon pants that seemed to be on sale everywhere and drink copiously offered yet bland fruitshakes, I just couldn't. The whole atmosphere was choking and designed to take the life out of you.

For example, the night market, which I'm sure started as a beat the heat, let's sell some souvenirs became a triple lane 5 block monster in which the same merchandise was pettled every other tent. Horrifying in it's mundanity and almost yes, I could buy thatness if I just wanted to set my money on fire, of which you could only escape by heading blocks toward the river and coming back up again to the rest of the shops. It all seemed like that. There was some decent food in there. I could almost forgive the shopsellers who were selling noodle soup in water and not in a broth. But really that's just unforgivable in general. And stand to be probably my worst food experiences in Laos along with the no-fruit shakes. Which I suppose, you know, there could be much worse.

But the upside of my 2 1/2 days very carefully avoiding consumption by the boa constrictor that is LP, was my travelmate Alex. I saw her in Phonsavan and she seemed a bit surly, but I still felt at the time I should've talked to her. But we got to talking on the van ride, bitching about the couples and their utterlack of traveler sensibility down to its all about us and not about the rest of you, that and the young things who come into conservative countries and wear tank tops and short shorts of which there was too many to count. We both had a sardonic practical sense that made for perfect roommateness- since we sort of fell into that casually- we were like sharing a bed? well that's a bit fast, but we both shrugged and were thankful to slash our budget in half. Because single travelers get the shaft and that's the truth of it when it comes to tours and accommodation. But anyway. So we walked around and talked and complained and made pointed observations and processed aloud to a real person next to us and not just that imaginary self one makes up in the head when one is alone for too long. We couldn't even rally each other when it came to the waterfall or bathing elephants- we just couldn't be bothered- I just kept thinking I have to get off the ride. I have to get out of here. It didn't matter what beautiful things I didn't get to see.

So we had massages at the Lao Red Cross and I bought my plane ticket from LaungNamtha to Vientiane. And we ate and we ate. And we wandered.

My love to you and more from when I get back from my nap.

xo, m.


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