Jillian Does Southeast Asia
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It's time to see that thing I keep hearing about from friends, in the news, etc...that is, Asia.
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Scuba Diving in Ko Tao
Where was I? I don't remember, so i'll just start anywhere.
The 10 of us (Eva, Fay, the 7 South African boys, and I) arrived at Ko Tao and let one of the hustlers on the ferry take us to his incredible so great just wonderful fantastic out of this world, shitbox of a hotel. It was free, and we needed a ride to town anyway. Of course the incredible room he promised us didn't exist, and the shit rooms they offered were gross. The South African boys were fine with them, so they stayed. Fay, Eva, and I set out on a mission to find a better room. After 3 long hours of going from hotel to hotel looking at one smelly broken down room after another, we realized this was mission impossible. I wanted to look at just one more hotel though. I had e-mailed them and they said they were all booked but I thought we may as well try.
It was just past the first hotel we went to, but to the left rather than to the right, where we had gone. As soon as we saw the waterfall and the big restaurant, we were in love. Tired and hungry, we begged the front desk lady to "Take us! Please take us!" She was like "Huh? What? Ok slow down." She did have a room, and the package deal with the scuba certification turned out to cost less than the other shit boxes, and we even got AC and hot water!! If I had been offered that room first I would have said, eh, well, maybe. But compared to everything else we saw, it was paradise. It didn't wreak of old moldy sponge, the floors were pretty stable, although there was a gigantic gap between the bathroom and the bedroom. Oh well. We were thrilled. Fay and I decided to room together, and Eva got her own little one person bungalow, as we would be getting up early and Eva would want to stay up late.
That night, the girls got all dressed up and we grabbed some dinner.
Eva and Fay
me wondering something at dinner
I just collapsed afterwards, I was beyond tired. We were relying on Fay's ipod to wake us up in the morning. It was set to start playing music at 8:00, that is, through the earphones. So she slept with them in. Every night...lol...what a trooper!
The first morning we watched a video that went through every chapter in the book we (thought) we had to memorize...all 5 of them. Then we met for a little bit with our instructor, Matee, whose English was passable, and another girl from Sweden and another boy from Italy. That was our class! Later we'd meet up on the pool for some beginning crap. Fay and I decided to explore the island in the boiling, wet heat. Here's what we saw:
Hat Sai Re
The water at Hat Sai Re
That night or maybe the next, we went out to dinner with Maria, followed by a romantic walk along the beach:
The lovely Maria and Fay, my diving buddies
Hat Sai Re at sunset
The next day we were ready for our first open water dive. Well, ready, I don't know about. But it was time. Here is out boat:
Our lovely dive boat
It was scary assembling all of our own scuba gear especially because we were supposed to know what to do, as were were supposed to have read the book the night before, but I was too tired. So I just kind of followed what the others did, and made the instructors check everything I was doing. Here is us all suited up and ready to go:
The first dive was amazing. We saw lots of fish, some I even have pictures of because I took one of those shitty underwater cameras with me. I'll try to upload the pictures later. We hung out on the roof of the boat while we sailed to another great scuba spot:
Maria and I on the dive boat
At this site, there were a few other boats around:
It was crazy running into other scuba divers in the water, as I was used to diving in the most remote part of the Great Barrier Reef, where another boat was miles and miles away. We saw more great fish, angel fish, a sting ray, and on the last day we saw a shark! Sorry, no picture of that. I was busy shitting myself.
As we motored back to Ko Tao, we passed this pretty island:
When we got back we grabbed something to eat. It was during the island dogs' nap time:
I shit you not they have nap time. In the afternoon all of the dogs just collapse. Usually to one side, with the arms and legs parallel, like you could grab legs in on hand and arms in the other and swing it around and around.
Speaking of food, Fay was on a much stricter budget than I was, as she was traveling around the world for a whole year. We decided to buy a box of Wheatbix and eat those before dinner and as snacks so that we would spend less money out. We'd just buy a little thinggy of milk from the 7-11 each time we wanted snack, and it would only cost 13 baht, which is less than 50 cents. In retrospect, we spent way too much time at that 7-11. We were always in there for something, like water, milk, yogurt, or crackers. It was one of the very few places on the island with air conditioning, so that might explain it. We shared dinner every night, and had breakfast for free as it was included in the package. Yay us! I did however manage to get massages most days, including one on the beach....yum....
I stayed an extra day with Maria when Fay left for Phi Phi. We had a great time lounging around and rented a quad bike to take around the island.
Maria and I on the quad
Getting my suit ready
One of the helpers (above) on our scuba certification course told us to go to a place called New Haven where we could get great smoothies. Maria caught him....uh...checking my suit out...
This was the view from our table:
View from our table at New Haven restaurant
We also visited a random beach:
view from little beach in Ko Tao
Some little beach in Ko Tao
And then it was time to go, so we headed off to the port and said a soppy goodbye as she headed for Ko Chang and I headed for Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Waiting for the ferry out of Ko Tao
Here are some pictures of the island from the ferry:
Leaving Ko Tao
Leaving Ko Tao
Beautiful sun on the way back to Ko Samui
on December 18, 2007
from the travel blog:
Jillian Does Southeast Asia
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Cambodia-- Angkor Wat, Sunshine Orphanage, markets, and lovely people
The waiting area in Koh Samui was the most beautiful airport waiting area I’d ever been in. it was especially for customers flying internationally (that flight was to Bangkok , but after that I was flying with them again to Siem Reap). There was free internet, juice, coffee, tea, food, and the most beautiful airport bathroom I’ve ever been in!
The most beautiful airport bathroom i've ever seen. Ko Samui.
As the plane touched down and we slowed to a stop, I suddenly realized that I was in Cam-fucking-bodia. Alone. Having booked no hotel, and no flight back to Bangkok. I contemplated staying on the plane and having them take me back to Bangkok, but somehow I got off.
The guy at the taxi stand asked me where I was going. I said I hadn’t booked a room yet, and he said “No problem. My house ok?” It was absolutely hilarious. I was relieved that not only could he speak English, he spoke well enough to have a sense of humor. It was a refreshing change from the Thai people who just kind of smile and nod and never get much done. The Thais are wonderfully sweet, sweet people. But they’re unhelpful. Like the Italians. Minus the attitude. But back to Siem Reap.
I got into the air conditioned cab, and the guy was so sweet and he even gave me a bottle of water. I told him I wanted to see a couple of hotels, and he said he could make good recommendations. At the first one, the woman showed me the spartan, steaming hot room, and nobody else was in the hotel. Not good signs. I said no thanks and the guy was like why not? And I was having flashbacks from Koh Samui so I told him to simply take me to the first place I’d asked to go.
As soon as we got there, to Popular Guest House, it felt like home. Well, maybe not home. But it felt right. This place was in the center of town, and I got a hotel room with two beds, air conditioning, hot water, and TV for $13 a night. Not bad!
I met some adorable Danish boys at the restaurant, and a sweet Australian girl named Charlotte. Charlotte and I decided to see Angkor Wat at sunrise the next morning, so we all had a quick dinner and then we went to sleep.
All around town they're selling these tee shirts that say "Same Same" on the front, and "But Different" on the back--they are absolutely hilarious. Asians always say "same same" to mean equal, similar, near, yes, and many other things. To me this shirt was funny because you are always thinking yeah right, same same my ass. But you want to be polite, so it's like yea, same same, sure, but different. On a side, note, there is a grasshopper here jumping around the computer lounge and it seriously looks like an animated Disney version. I'm thinking it's going to start talking or singing soon.
Being here feels like i'm in a dream world. the people can be so amazingly friendly, warm, and giving. But they can also be very intrusive, rude, and energy draining. The tuk tuk drivers offering you their services, the little girls with baskets of shit jewelry--at first it's adorable but it gets really tiring, honestly. These little girls were hassling me outside the Angkor Wat temple as we were eating lunch and I thought it was hilarious. I bargained and bought some stuff, but then they all came over and wanted me to buy something. I didn't want most of it and just thought i'd get it as souvenirs. But you'd say no and they wouldn't give up. Hours later they were still fucking following me. I'd have no problem just handing out dollar bills, but I've heard you shouldn't buy anything from them because it encourages their parents to not let them go to school because they make money from selling these postcards, "jewelry," etc. But then others told me it's fine. So I decided to buy what I could use or give to people, and nothing else.
The conversations with these kids were always the same:
"please look at my nice bracelet"
'"ok. you're just so freakin adorable!"
"where you from?"
"Oh New York. Capital is Albany. Governor is ___ Pataki (i can never understand the first name)"
"There are 300 million people in America."
"Wow! You are so smart!"
"You buy, ok." I don't use a question mark because it's not a question.
"These are very nice, but I really don't need anything. Thank you though."
"United states. borders are Canada and Mexico."
"Wow! That's right! Good Job!"
"you so pretty. you buy, ok."
"I really don't want anything, thank you. It's all very nice stuff, but really I'm ok."
"You look but you not buy"
"please madam, you buy ok?"
"No sweety, I really dont need anything. You look tired, do you want to take a rest?"
"you buy, ok"
"No, I won't buy. I'm sorry."
Then, as if they turned on a switch, some of them begin to cry.
"Oh stop. Don't be rediculous, you're not really that sad" I say, and the conversation just keeeeeeeeps on going.
Bargaining is the same. it gets so tiring, i find something i want to buy but you're just being hassled left and right by all the different sales people and i just have to get out of there before my head explodes. I've often been too tired to buy anything because i'm being hassled so much.
But back to the beauty of Siem Reap. Here is Angkor Wat at sunrise:
angkor at sunrise
lions and angkor
Getting up at 5am to see that sunrise was rediculous, but it was beautiful. When we got to Angkor Wat everything was dark, you could barely make out any shapes. But as it got lighter and lighter, all of a sudden you realize you're on this magnificent temple that stretches far and wide. The temples were absolutely amazing:
more angkor women
angkor profile face
angkor pass through
We took a tuk tuk who took us anywhere we wanted to go the whole day. We saw some ridiculous things in and around the temples:
little boy riding gigantic bike
monkey with froggy
At one point I split up from Charlotte and the guy that went with us, a sweet Irish boy whose name i've already forgotten. I wanted to ride an elephant, so they went ahead and I thought I'd meet them at the next temple. The elephants were all gone when I walked up, so I decided to just walk and meet them there. I was taking in the new setting as I was on my long walk when I was distracted by a snake in my path. No this is not a proverb. I screamed and froze. I didn't know what to do. Was it poisonous? Harmless? Was it going to attack me? Should I run? This all became irrelevent as the snake slithered onto the street, and [babam> [babam> got run over by a car immediatly. Yeah, gross. I pushed on.
Soon I heard kids voices coming from somewhere in the jungle to my left. I decided to go find them, and followed some random path that led me to this adorable little school. I went in and the kids were at recess, so I got to say hi to them and their teacher showed me the little classroom and let me take pictures. I gave him some money for the school, and he was very grateful. Here are the kids playing:
kids at school
The kids in Cambodia are absolutely adorable. Here are some more I saw later at the market:
sweet litle boy at veggie market
sweet little girl with watermelons
And this one was especially patriotic:
yay america baby
On my last day there I was alone as everyone had gone their separate ways, so I decided to visit an orphanage. A girl at the hotel restaurant told me she worked at one in Phenom Phen (southern Cambodia) and to bring gifts and food. I thought it would be so easy, i'd just run over to the market, pick up some bananas or something, and be off. Haha. Yeah right. There is no infrastructure here. Oh yeah, and the people working at the market speak very limited English.
I knew I'd have trouble so I went to a random travel agency and hired a car with a driver who could help me haggle. He was supposed to translate for me at the market and make sure I was getting the best prices. Unfortunately he didn't speak English either. Luckily he knew he was taking me to an orphanage, so that word he might have understood. But I had to pantomime orphanage along with toothbrush, toothpaste, notebooks, pens, toys, soap, laundry detergent, and rice. All the people at the market would give me the highest prices because I was white, and I ended up getting really annoyed. "I'm buying these for Cambodian babies!" Blank stares. "Cambodian babies! Not for me!" Confused looks. I took out my camera and showed them a Cambodian child. "I take toothbrush to them. Not for me." Yeah yeah, the may have gotten it, but they didn't care. I wanted to buy 100 of everything, so haggling to get a decent price was hard enough, but actually locating these items took time too. Nobody actually stocked 100 toothbrushes. I don't know what they were thinking...lol...Here are some sweet Cambodians counting out 100 toothbrushes in English:
sweet people at the market who sold me 100 toothbrushes and toothpastes
So finally we were done. I needed lunch. We went to a restaurant outside of the main town, and my driver went diligently to his little corner to eat. I called him over and told him not to be rediculous, and to come eat with me. I then found myself trying to make conversation with a non-English speaker slurping up soup and gnawing at chunks of beef. And I think he had a crush on me which made it even more awkward. I sort of regretted inviting him over, as I really just wanted some time to myself. But I couldn't just have him banished to the drivers' area, it's just so inhumane.
During our conversation, he told me it was expensive to learn English: $7/month. I handed him $7 and said, "First month's on me." Not like he understood that. But he was very grateful anyway.
I tried to explain that I wanted to go to an orphanage far out of the city, as the girl in the restaurant had told me that those are the ones that really need help. Unfortunately, my driver couldn't understand, and I was too tired to figure out how to explain it to him. He nodded like he understood, and took me to the orphanage which was actually right around the corner from my hotel.
When we got there, the kids were putting on a performance for the visitors. I was so surprised I wasn't the only one, there were maybe 6 other white people there, mostly old hippies. I wondered if my 50kg of rice was going to kids that didn't need it. But I was there, so I sat down and watched:
Cambodian orphans doing a little Khmer dance
Not long after, a little girl came over and stood by me, mesmerized by the older kids dancing on the stage. She looked a little dirty, both her clothes and her face. I tapped her little shoulders and was going to put her on a bench next to the other kids, but she didn't even really respond to my tapping. I tried a few more things, but the girl was just lost inside of her head. Another little girl came up to me, much more affectionate this one, and wanted to be right next to me. When I started clapping, I put my arms around her back as we faced the stage and clapped with her hands. She loved it! The little one was just kind of mellowed out though, I couldn't figure her out. But she wanted me to pick her up, so I did.
As people cleared out, I asked the staff if I could give the kids what I had brought them, and they said sure. My driver (genius of a man) asked if I wanted him to take pictures, and I said yeah sure, and handed him the camera. He went wild! In this first one i'm handing a bouncy ball to a kid, with the tranquil little girl on my hip:
All of the kids said thank you by putting their hands together in prayer position and looking down, it was the cutest thin i've ever seen! Here's one:
giving i don't know
Giving gifts 1
Adorable Premie girl
I saw that the other white people had left bags of rice and other stuff, and I was worried that this orphanage had more than enough, and the other orphanages farther away didn't get anything. I talked to the owner/manager guy, also about the lethargic little girl.
Me talking to the owner with baby in arm
He said she was usually very bouncy, and showed me the storage room where I saw bags and bags of rice, paper, pens, toys, soap--everything I thought would make a difference. I told him I was grateful to have come and seen the m, but I wished I could have gone to the other orphanages and given them what they needed. He told me not to worry, that he had organized with the other orphanages for them to pick up supplies every week. He said that they do get tons of supplies, and he rations them to the other orphanages. I was so relieved.
Here are some more adorable kids:
Two kids in my arms
Adorable kid #1
Adorable Kid #2
Adorable kid #3
Adorable kid #4-- Mr. Cheeky
Adorable Kid #5
I want to send them money when I get back to NY. I want to do a fund raiser or something for them. The money that is negligible in our world, like a dollar or 10 dollars, goes so far in Cambodia. One of the boys from the orphanage who is now much older is in his second of year of medical school! Anyway, I was so sad to leave these little faces, but I needed one hell of a shower.
I was not happy about leaving the next day. But it had to happen. I went to the markets in the morning to buy last minute silk scarves, Buddha statues, and a huge bag to carry it all in, and then I rushed to the airport as I was completely late, and actually arrived on time. My stomach kept hurting really bad off and on that morning, but I ignored it as I was off to Bangkok to meet mom!
on December 30, 2007
from the travel blog:
Jillian Does Southeast Asia
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Laos (NOT in Malaysia, blogabond is retarded)
We flew from Da Nang back to Hanoi, then over to Luang Prabang. When we arrived it was dark and cold, which completely sucked, as I was imagining it as really warm, even though it was at the same latitude as Hanoi. I think I made the mistake because I kind of grouped Laos together in my mind with Cambodia, which was really hot. I guess I thought, “Well it’s one of the poorest countries in the world, it has to be hot.” Yes, that was my logic.
The Laos Kip is the fourth different currency for me in Southeast Asia that I’ve had to convert in my head into dollars, and mom is just senile, so paying for the taxi was really confusing. The hotels are ridiculously expensive considering this is one of the poorest countries in the world. But we were happy with ours, as it was a French Colonial overlooking the Mekong.
The first night it was so cold I had to have mom read next to me so I could have her body warmth.
The people are the friendliest I have met, but we have found that still some will try to rip you off. I hate being so skeptical of people, but I get this bad feeling in my stomach and I can kind of tell when they’re full of shit. They confirm this for me when I find out they have lied, but I usually worry it’s just because of the language barrier. Mom doesn’t have that problem. If she doesn’t like someone, she’s like ok bye thanks for the ride see ya.
We met cool people our first day: a mother and daughter traveling from Ireland, and a couple around mom’s age from New York. We met the couple at a “restaurant” near the famous big waterfall. We walked through by many waterfalls, and although the water was absolutely freezing, in the main one I swung on a rope from a huge branch into the freezing cold water. But it was awesome.
me climbing to the rope
me at the branch ready to jump
The water was crystal clear, and magnificently blue.
tree in water
We made sure to bring out Oreos for our miniature hike through the waterfalls:
oreos for us
On our way back down, a group of guys were shamelessly staring at me as I walked down the hill with 2 towels wrapped around me. I said “Take a picture, it’ll last longer,” but I don’t think they heard me. They looked kind of confused and sedated, alcohol may have had a role in this, and mom said “You want picture? $1!” mimicking the mothers who could care less if you have pictures of their adorable little kids, but they do want to make some money off of it. They were like $1? Hell yeah!
We went to a village later that the tour guide called the monk’s village. We didn’t see a single monk. We did however encounter a dozens of little girls and boys selling little bracelets, they were so adorable, we bought a gazillion of them. Souvenirs, anyone?
Probably 2 years old selling bracelets
Cute little village girl
All the little village kids
Little girl who I bought a bracelet from
Little kids selling bracelets
Sweet boy eating rice
Monk's village little girl
Pink shirt village cutie
The kids were so poor and dirty, mom cleaned two of them with little wet napkins she had bought for our hands.
mom cleaning baby
I suspect that one or two of the little girls had been molested or something, because they wore really trashy makeup that I can’t understand where they would’ve even gotten a hold of, nonetheless learned how to apply.
Monk's village older made up girl with younger girl
One of the two girls kind of played ringleader, telling me to buy from this girl or that one, pulling them close to her, and beckoning me with her eyes. I wanted to ask her if someone had touched her or something, but what could I possibly do? She probably wouldn’t have known what that even meant, or even told me the truth.
Most of the kids had a little cold, which they probably spread to each other because it’s not like they’re washing their hands after they go to the bathroom. They probably get a shower, and by shower I mean dip in the murky brown Mekong, every few weeks.
I couldn’t believe it but just of the main little pathway, a little girl no older than 3 was sitting with a big knife next to her bag, chopping away at a piece of bamboo or something. I signaled to him, is it ok that your daughter has a huge knife? And he signaled back yeah, she’s fine, she knows what she’s doing.
The Laos people are known for their friendliness and their laidback way of doing things.
Kids playing checkers?
Little girl playing on statue of elephant
Sweet little boy with cup
Little girl's brother at the cave
They smile a lot, eat all the time, and are happy and laughing even though some live in complete and udder poverty. Consequentially, their lifespan is very short (50 is considered really old), and they don’t get a whole lot done, hence the whole poverty thing.
Little kids climbing up stairs at the cave
The next day, I woke up at 6am to give alms to the monks. Basically they get up really early and walk in a line down the street, and sweet little villagers scoop little bite-sized bits of their sticky rice into the monks’ bowls. I stood with one of the sweet little villagers and waited for the monks: PICTURE OF MONKS WALKING DOWN
They walked by at a very brisk pace, and I even missed some of the monks’ bowls. They slow for no one, I’ve learned. I was carrying a large basket full of rice in one hand: PICTURE OF BASKET
In the other I scooped bits of rice into their bowls. It’s not easy to get the sticky rice off of your fingers though. For the experienced guy next to me it was a breeze, but I could not for the life of me get down the technique. So I made up my own: when there was a break in the line of monks, I would roll little balls and put them between my fingers so I’d be ready when they walked by:
My sticky rice balls all ready to go
I wanted to talk to the monks but I didn’t know any of the rules. So as I walked back home, I saw some of the monks at their monastery (which I keep calling Monkage—it seems so much more logical). I ambled in and saw that some of the monk were still in their beds, and one upstairs was playing music! I didn’t know they could listen to music. One of the monk saw me from his bed and came out to ask me where I was from, etc. His family lives in the north of Laos, and they sent him here to get educated because the monks get a good education for free, or for less money, I couldn’t figure it out. The downside is that monks only eat 2 meals a day (no food from 12pm-12am), they wake up at 4am, they can’t touch girls, and they can’t dance. Even worse, they only see their parents once a year, right after finals. Can you imagine the stress?
More and more monks came around and I realized I was probably the only white girl that had ever come into their living quarters and sat there and chatted with them. They were loving it! It was so cute.
Monks from day 1
They were about 16 years old, so it was like ooooh older woman, which was kind of weird because I thought monks didn’t have feelings like that, but they sure did. I told them I’d bring them candy and books. I have yet to see a book store though.
Later, we took a speedboat (haha speedboat—it was a raft with a motor) to the famous cave, which was sort of disappointing.
Looking out of the cave
The cave and its steps
It was…a cave. It had a lot of old Buddha statues in it…but they are all around town too. The ride up there, however, was beautiful, if not a little uncomfortable as our driver told me to lay my head on his knee and started to pet my neck...eek!
View from cave
On my way back home, I picked up 3 boxes of Oreos for the monks. It was 11pm and I was walking by a monastery (there are tons) and I heard a monk say “hi,” I couldn’t believe they were up. They have to wake up at 4am! (I later learned the next morning that overall, the monks in this town are becoming very lazy and turning to vices like alcohol and sex, and wearing their robes differently than they are supposed to. I can understand this as they are sent to live in this town where they are away from their families, and they probably have normal teenage urges. But it is too bad that they are sort of losing that sacred purity).
Anyway, as soon as I got a glimpse of the burnt sienna robe, I handed the cookies over the fence. They were very thankful, and invited me in. They were all just sitting around the fire, and I sat and chatted with them for a while. I told them about how Bush was an idiot and how we were getting a new government. They asked how bush was an idiot, and I had a hard time explaining it, but I came up with “Well, he started a war,” and they like “Oh noooooo.” When explaining how we pick a new government, I used the word “candidate” and I think they understood what it meant in the context, but one monk asked me to spell it and put it into his phone, or the phone of his non-monk friend, I couldn’t figure it out. They are very eager to learn English.
They had never seen snow, and really wanted to, just like I was before I had seen snow. They asked me to bring some back with me the next time I came, and we all laughed at the idea of bringing snow water in a plastic bag across the world. When it was time to leave, I wanted to get their e-mail, so I was fumbling for a pen in my bag and I went, “uh oh,” because I realized I’d given my pens to some little kids in a village in Vietnam.
One of the monks asked, “What does ‘uh oh’ mean?” which reminded me of when I asked my mom when I was really young, “Mommy what does oh mean?” I laughed and explained it to them. Then I must have said “Oh my God” or something because they said, “You say that, we say ‘oh my Budda,’” and we all laughed again. I gave him an old eye-liner I had floating around in my bag to write with. When he was done he wanted to know what it was, so I explained to him, then showed him mascara and a cover-up stick. He was like, that’s why you look pretty! It’s all a show…isn’t it?
On a completely different note, I don’t understand what gets into people’s heads that tells them it’s ok to dress in native textiles, just because they are in a different country. They look really silly, as not even the natives are wearing them. And I can just imagine them breaking out one of those outfits on a Sunday or something back home, strolling around blissfully thinking “These are from Laos…oh Laos…pretty Laos…” Meanwhile everyone who sees them thinks they’ve lost their minds. Fine, wear the clothes in the particular country, even though nobody else is wearing them because you’re in the friggin city. But for the love of God, or Buddha I guess, don’t bring them out in Western society and not expect to get funny stares.
The last day, I took some New Yorkers, extra tissue packs, hotel sewing kits and razors, and my Southeast Asia Lonely Planet to the monastery right near our house. On the way I bought more cookies and a papaya, and gave them all to the monks. They were really grateful, and one monk said he could take the Lonely Planet to the other monastery I went to the night before, and give it to the monks there. We will send them more grammar books, their favorites, especially the ones with the exercises, when we get home.
When it was time to leave, the manager of the hotel had characteristically ordered us a tuk tuk even though mom had asked for a taxi, and said with a dishonest innocence, “This is a Laos taxi.” Mom was not happy. But like most things in Southeast Asia that don’t turn out as you were promised, we didn’t have a choice. Our stuff was loaded onto the tuk tuk when we climbed on though, which was awesome. The driver turned around to me and asked, “Are you ok?” and I said I was fine, thanks. Mom, looking haggard, said sarcastically, “Yeah I’m fine too,” as it wasn’t clear if he had directed the question at both of us.
Overall, we loved Laos. We wanted to stay there forever, and even discussed buying a house there. Apparently the New York Times named Luang Prabang or Laos the #1 place to go this year, so it’s kind of now or never to make an investment. In the end, it just didn’t make sense though, but we know we will come back really soon.
Animals we passed by on the way to the cave
Sweet man with his baby
On the drive to the waterfalls
we at waterfall
on January 8, 2008
from the travel blog:
Jillian Does Southeast Asia
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