Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My people

Sah bah dee!

The white folks here are slowing starting to get on my nerves. At first glance, they ask all the right questions. Can they see the room? How many beds? How long is the boat ride? Where does the bus stop? But as of late, I've come across some real snobs. They've paid for a full meal yet only got a few jumbo shrimps. Granted we are used to bigger dinners, but for $2, order another! There have been a couple who complain about the cleanliness of a room or the speed of the internet. May i remind you where we are...where we chose to be? Be happy there is a western toilet, let alone tp. Even happier there is actual internet and clean water and electricity! And again...we get what we pay for...Technically we're probably getting more if the room is only $6. It's not always fun or glamorous, but necessary to at least attempt to adapt to our surroundings when choosing to visit. Which technically I should be learning more than just thank you and hello if I'm here. So I'll step down from the soap box. Khap jai!

That being said, Don Dhet in the 4000 islands of Laos has been my favorite for the country...if not my favorite for all of SE Asia that I've seen this far! Pai Thailand,I must say, comes in at a close second.

From Pakse I took a short two hour bus to Ban N. something, which was a port to the island I'd be staying on. I had no hotel reservation, but saw a flyer at my hotel in Pakse so decided to head towards that. I knew it was to the right of where we'd deboard the boat, but people in town told me to keep'd be another 3.5km. No big deal. That's like 2 miles. Once again, why do I get myself on these long walks with my backpack?!

An hour later I made it. It must be like the Machu Picchu...kinda...but totally worth the hike. There were signs advertising sunset or sunrise bungalows...this one was on the south end of the island and featured both! For US$2/night. To myself. Besides the occasional noise where my bathroom wall joined with my French neighbors...good thing I feel like anything they say is beautiful just by the way they speak it.

Anyway. My bungalow is directly beside the friendship bridge that joins to another island with a waterfall, the old train, some endangered dolphins, and pretty much no inhabitants. I journey across by a beat up old cruiser bike...mindful of the one working brake which is for the front wheel. Good thing there are zero hills. Just lots of rocks in the dirt road. And the northmost point to the southmost point is 4km. Easy.

I honestly just went to the island to find an iced coffee. But actually met some white folks from Canada who made a good impression for us with the locals. They were brothers, speaking highly of the Khmer food I'd soon be eating in Cambodia, and encouraged me to check out this waterfall. I saw it just about at sunset. Great views even though to me it was just raging waters through air separated the water from the rock. But now who sounds like a snot? :) it's like when Wisconsin calls its highest point a mountain. Just humorous when you've skied in Colorado :)

So what else? My appetite came back full force! Not sure if its me or some MSG, but I think I've eaten about 6 meals today! I learned how to ask for 'not spicy' after getting a delicious slaw type salad that was just too spicy to finish. And Asian dishes here don't typically come with rice either, so one must ask for it. Pancakes are a toss up for breakfast...some are deep fried, others are the most tasty crepes. Shakes are a toss up too...some are severely watered down and sugared up...others you have to eat with a spoon and are all 100% fruit.

Where I was getting my shake today, there was a groups of dogs procreating and getting in a big barking match. More interesting was the restaurant owner fighting them off with her broom. Guess once I saw kids pooping on public sidewalks in India, anything goes. This will be my permanent vision of each country...Vietnam with people picking their noses for some serious gold...did I see anything deemed socially unacceptable in Argentina or Thailand though? Hmm. Guess they are more second world than third world countries.

The only other things I've done on this island are lay on the 'beach'...the small area of sand that we docked...and lay in various hammocks, reading. And from my views I've watched ducks get into fights, seen a ton of cute baby chicks learning to scrounge for food, walk cautiously past unfenced water buffalo, and have had little baby piglets on leashes squeal at me. The backpacker number might equal to the number of locals. And the locals seem to each have their house double as a guesthouse/restaurant/travel agency/money exchange/laundromat/etc. As primitive as it is, the people don't seem to work too hard...sitting on their stoops chatting with each other throughout the day, yet still happy to help at any request for their service. During one of my many lunches today, I watched a man take the entire hour to replace a hook for a ceiling fan with a hammer and nail. Screwdrivers haven't made it here yet?

I do wonder about the expats here, who live here now with young kids. Sure it's the relaxing life, just the basics, but would it get boring? To me I guess it'd depend on if one has family and friends...those cannot be replaced.

On that note, I'm so freaking excited to say that I will have not one, but two of my friends joining me in the next few days! It's been fun to get some space and alone time...but it will be sweet to share some of these places with some close friends.

Enough rambling for now! Xoxo

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