Monday, October 30, 2006

First World Culture Shock

Sydney Opera House

It's been awhile since I've written. Partly because I've been on a sort of vacation within a vacation, I've been going through writer's cramp bordering on an aneurysm, and with Australia being so similar to the U.S. (Bondi Beach where I'm staying might as well be in Southern California), I haven't been as inspired or seen any mind shattering things. I've been staying with friends as well, so it feels more like staying at a friend's place down the coast an hour away from home, vs. being on the other side of the world. It's been really nice to take a break from backpacking. This is also the first English speaking/first world country I've been to on this trip, which makes life so much easier.....And you know what, it's sunny here. There's beach and surf, so let me think....
computers or waves?
computers or waves?
internet or beach..........(perfect example of writer's aneurysm).

But nonetheless, there are some interesting cultural observations to be had here in Sydney and Melbourne --- I've only been in the cities on the east coast. Supposedly the west coast and Outback are incredible and a bit more diverse. These observations do not constitute or stereotype all of Australia, just things I've noticed which may or many not have a profound affect on your life.

Sydney is in a harbor and to the east and north are beautiful gold sand beaches only 15 minutes from the city center. This area feels like Huntington Beach or Long Beach, California...but cleaner.....and whiter. Sydney has the largest amount of caucasians per capita that I've ever seen in my life. But I guess that makes sense since China had the most concentrated amount of Chinese, and Lao had the largest percentage of Laotians that I've ever seen.

Melbourne reminded me of Denver because of the scale and size of it. It has a more artsy feel and more ethnic diversity than Sydney. The music scene there is Australia's answer to Austin Texas.

General Observations:
- cities and towns are generally cleaner than the ones in the states.
- more 7-eleven's here than in the U.S.
- this place is expensive to travel in. Lucky to be staying at friend's vs. paying for accomodations (Thanks Alicia, Mel and Kate!)
- the country is going through the worst drought of all time.
- American culture is big here. All the television programs are American shows out here. Music is American pop. Surfing is life out here.
- the U.S. annihilated the Native American population, Australia did the same to the Aborigines.
- we've got rednecks, they've got Bogans, their mullet-headed, wife-beater wearing equivalent.
- people here seem a lot more friendlier and less on edge than in the states.
- the music in the clubs here are, how do i say, more 'happier' than the beats in the U.S.
- and in general, the're more open to do anything and everything at anytime. And they truly make you feel at home.
- the personal hygiene level here is astronomically greater than any country I've been to so far on this trip.
- the travellers/backpackers that come here seem to be more of the partying crowd than in other countries that I've been to.

When I first arrived here, it was a big culture shock since everyone speaks English, everyone observes traffic laws, no farm animals roaming the streets, and public transportation actually makes sense. It really threw me for a loop in the beginning. It has been nice taking a break from backpacking. Coming onto month 12 of my travels, you hit a wall from time to time, and get tired of travelling. I hit a wall when I got here, and it's been nice to take a break from moving around. It's been nice to have everything so easy here (no language barrier, no looking for accomodations, no worrying about your stuff being stolen, no fear in crossing the streets, etc.). Anyway that's enough Vitamin I for one day. I leave you with this proverb,

A rolling stone gathers no moss. TenRen's are better than one, and Dónde está Ché Pelotas?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

photos of laos part ii

here's the second load of photos i took from laos.

if you'll notice, in some of the photos you might see dust spots. this is dust that gets into my camera from changing lenses, or going through the lens rings from zooming in and out.
the dust gets on the ccd sensor (whatever the hell that means) inside the camera. you can use a hurricane blower (an air blowing hand blowing device.....hmm, that sounds funny), but sometimes the dust sticks to the surface of the sensor (big pain in the arse), especially in hot, humid climates like southeast asia (where i was and where i will be in a couple weeks). anyway, the point is, today, i had my sensor cleaned here in melbourne. this is lucky for me and my camera, since the only other place i know where this can be done is in the u.s. of a. and i probably won't be there until late spring '07. so the point of the previous point hitherto henceforth is, i'm so damn happy to have a clean camera, that i'm going to get pissed tonite.

anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program:

me and a couple of english lads rode motorbikes through the lao hillside, and bought a couple of bottles of laobeer and drank by the river next to this hut. since the villagers don't have too many western visitors, we were the main show in town.

in nong khiaw, you can rent huts overlooking the nam (river) ou. these kind, novice buddhist monks were nice enough to look after them across the river while i was away. my hut is at about 9 o'clock.

sunset in nong khiaw. look at all those dust spots on the ccd sensor.

cockfighting in luang prabang


one of many wats (temples) in luang prabang

lanterns in the night market in luang prabang

village girl weaving

rice fields and bamboo huts. laos has plenty of those.

weirdest waterfall i've ever seen. it goes right through the jungle.

rice field and bamboo hut.

lao is communist (well, sort of), and this is a photo of their old, long departed, communist brethren to the west, the soviet union.

last photo, sunset over the mekong river in vientiane.

laos is wonderful. it's such a nice respite from other countries in asia with it's laid-back nature, ruralness, and slower pace of life. this is especially true after coming in from the massive population center that is china. laos capital vientiane, feels like a small village. small towns in china are larger than the entire laotian population...of course, a small town in china holds only 2 million people.
if in southeast asia, i highly recommend laos, especially if after you've down the usual tourist circuit through thailand, it's more decadent brother to the west.

life, love, and Dónde está Ché Pelotas?

Monday, October 23, 2006

photos from laos part I

well, i'm in my first english speaking country on this trip, the land down under, australia. i'm in sydney right now, which reminds me a lot of places in the usa. bondi beach, with it's surf and skate culture is a lot like southern california. the crisp clear air and temperate climate is a bit like san francisco. and british colonial brick architecture and proper english sounding street names remind me of boston.
so it's a lot like the states, you could almost say it's a mirror image. in fact, if you placed a mirror on the equator, and flipped it over, you'd get a reflection of the u.s.
for example, they drive on the left hand side of the road (almost runover only twice),
the toilets swish clockwise on the southern hemisphere (either way, it's a nice respite from southeast asia squatters),
they walk on the left hand side of the sidewalk (have gotten into two accidents).
it's a lot cleaner though than cities in the states. no grafitti, or street grime. interesting. people seem less stressed too, and everyone seems to like to party. since i want to be engrossed in the culture of the places that i visit, i've been more than happy to oblige.
anyway, i'm lucky since new friends of mine (courtesy of my pal alicia who had a hand in coming up with the 'global transmission' moniker) mellani and katrina, are letting me crash in their place. it's nice since it's a bit more expensive here than i'm used to, and it's nice to have a home to come to instead of a hostel or guesthouse. mel took me out with her friends on my birthday, and i had a great time.

yes i did.

anyway, here's the first photos from laos. will post a few more later, since blogger isn't playing nice with the rest of the photos.



run monk, run

giving alms at sunrise

a not so young novice monk

gifts to buddha

sunset on the mekong, looking at the thai border crossing

hut living

he's not here. where he at? Dónde está Ché Pelotas?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

from the land of strange

i've seen many amazing things on my trip.
i've seen many strange things as well.
i've been surprised as as well.
but it's when you're not expecting to see something fascinating,
that is when it sticks out the most
and also surprises you the greatest.

for me,
it had to be my second stop on my way down from bangkok to sydney the other day.
had a layover in singapore and then in bali, indonesia (of course garuda airlines lost my baggage).
in bali's airport,

an aquarium with fish. totally caught me by surprise.
fascinating. just fascinating.

and thanks for all the great birthday wishes. just to think, it was 24 years and 1 day since i've been born. where have all the years gone?? speaking of "where's", Dónde está Ché Pelotas?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

happiness continued

in addition to 'happy pizza', you can get "doctor 'o' tea" ('o' stands for opium) or 'happy mushroom shakes' (no need for explanation). vang vieng is a weird place. it's the khao san road (bangkok) of lao. on the main strip, there are all these guesthouses with restaurants in the front with big lounge mats and tables facing loud television sets. lots of backpackers laying back watching movies and feeling the effects of 'happiness'. on one half-block section, i saw 3 different jennifer aniston flicks or shows being shown. just like raoul duke knew when to leave vegas in 'fear and loathing', that was my cue to leave this town.
everybody knows that a town that features jennifer aniston and hallucinogens, is not a good combination. that's a sure fire signal to vacate.

good with any combination, try Dónde está Ché Pelotas?

Monday, October 16, 2006

happy pizza

every country has it's backpacker hangout. it's the place that budget travellers go and end up staying there too long. it's where backpackers inevitably go for beautiful scenery, laid back lifestyle, cheap beer and eats, and activities aimed towards young travellers avoiding reality. it's the place where westerners outnumber locals, and there are more street signs in english than in the native tongue.
in laos, that place is vang vieng. it is strategically situated halfway between vientiane and luang prabang, the two main tourist stops for jaunts through laos.
here the main street is filled with cheap guest houses, restaurants aimed towards westerners, high speed internet/international phone cafes, and generic t-shirt souvenir shops. the lazy do nothing activities of choice are tubing down the river (where you pass a bunch riverside bars and get pulled in by a little laotian dude. then you drink and get back on your tube. sensible mix.) and renting motorbikes (drinking optional).
most backpacker ghettos also have a gimmick. here in vang vieng, it's 'happy pizza'. this a special pizza you can order that is laced with cannibis. they're everywhere here, more pizza places than noodle or rice shops.

oh, the sweet allure of youth.
what will they think of next to entice our future leaders of tomorrow.

for a happy time without the use of mind enhancing substances, go see Dónde está Ché Pelotas?'

Friday, October 13, 2006

2 haikus from laos

The deathride I took last Sunday ((The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly)), the beautiful emerald green ricefields, the laid-back people, and the fact that it's rained everyday this past week has put me in a reflective mood here in the wonderful country of Laos. Here are two haikus for a rainy day in the Laotian countryside.

An Ode to My Once Caked-on Muddy Shoes
washed you four days past
and still you are soaking wet
will you ever dry?

An Open Heart Letter to the Sun
will you please come out?
i need you to dry my shoes
stubbed my toe twice - ouch!

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

this is a wordy entry, so you might want to grab a snack and make yourself comfortable
The Good
The border town of Huay Xai has to be one of the best border towns I've been to. Normally, border towns are a maze of people crossing either way, they're noisy, dirty, and usually have an edge of lawlessness to them. But Huay Xai, felt more like an actual town, that for the first time, I willingly spent more than one night at a border town. The town is a quaint village along the Mekong with riverside restaurants overlooking the river. The Buddhist temple at the top of the hill had a stunning view of the Mekong and the hills of Thailand across the way.
It also happened to be the time of the Awk Phaansa festival which signifies the end of the rainy season (although this year, the rains came late, and it still continues to rain as your reading). The festival was a happy surprise. At sunrise, everyone from the village gathered at the top of the temple to give alms (gifts of food, fruit, and money) to the monks, as they made a steady procession around the main temple. Somehow, I made it up there after a night of BeerLao and talking politics with a British couple. Beautiful site.
As part of the festival, throughout Laos, Boat Races are held celebrating the end of rainy season. We arrived at the area around the Finish Line at12:30 in the afternoon. There are food stands, and sitting and eating areas set up, etc. Typical festival fare. The festivities start at around 11 AM, everyone in the province gathers to watch the Boat Races, signifying the end of rainy season. It's also the time that the Laotians start drinking.
And drinking.
And drinking.
And drinking.
If there's anything I've picked up from travelling, it's the ability to tell whether a culture is filled with good or bad drunks. The Laotians looked like trouble. Normally they are peaceful and placid. But after a few bottles of BeerLao, they're bumbly and stumbly. By the time we got there, half of them were red-faced with that Asian drinking disease that makes their skin turn red. My guess was they'd all be passed out before the races were even finished. My friends and I decided to head out of the main festival area, because of the crowds, the intense sun and heat, and the Laotians with alcohol mix. We relaxed at a riverside cafe. Beautiful scenery watching the sunset over the Mekong and boat races going on. I promise a photo of this soon.
Right now, I'm in Luang Nam Tha which is a real godsend. Peaceful, everyone is kind, and the scenery outside the town is incredible. It's off the beaten path, and the town feels very authentic. Yesterday, we rented motorbikes and rode up to bamboo-hutted, mountain villages. We bought some beer and just sat by the river enjoying the setting. We were quite a show for the local ethnic villagers since not too many westerners travel up here. Most were kind and friendly, others were curious like they just saw a ghost (the two English lads I was with were quite pale). It was nice to visit a village and see how the locals really live, versus the prepackaged tours, which look a bit contrived and filled with souvenir stands. So far Laos has felt pure and untampered by the tourist industry. I really hope it stays that way, but I also recommend it for visiting.

still with me here. this would be a good time for a bathroom break.
The Bad
I've been on several bus deathrides in my travels, and each time I say this is the last time. Here's a past example of a bus breaking down in the middle of nowhere in Vietnam ((here)) and driving through bone braking, dirty and dusty, whiplash inducing, moon crater dirt road Cambodia ((and here)). But the ride I took on Sunday from Huay Xai to Luang Nam Tha in Laos has taken over as my all time worst. It affected all of my senses.
We left the Huay Xai bus station at 10 AM. Now mind you, when I say 'bus station', that means 4 walls, a counter with a guy watching loud Thai television, and a dirt clearing. And when I say 'bus', in Laos that means a tiny Toyota 2WD (foreshadowing) mini-pickup truck, where the bed in the back is converted with 2 benches facing one another and a roof on top. When filled with passengers and luggage, the truck bottoms out and looks like a low-rider. The busride consisted of a caravan of three of these mighty 100 horsepower beasts. I was put in the falang (foreigner) truck, but my backpack was placed on a different truck. This always worries me. I can't tell you how many times I went through the scenario of 'OK, what do I need to replace now that my pack is gone? Where can I call my insurance agent? What Laotian hilltribe villager is wearing my clothes and underwear?' But I'm jumping the gun here.
The back of the truck was filled with 8 falang, and the driver had me sit in the back seat of the cab behind him. I sat next to a charming old guy who wore a camouflage jacket, smiled at me all the time, but we never got the verbal communication down except when we heard a falang in the back scream or shout. We'd just smile at each other and say, Ha ha ha, falang, falang. Laotions find it amusing when falang say falang. Lovely old guy, but nasty B.O. And for anyone who's sat in the back of one of those mini pick-ups, you know how tight it is back there. Like other third world countries, a bus is never really full. The bus driver kept picking up more and more locals, that some had to stand on the back bumper holding onto a crossbar. Pretty typical scenario, but rough for a 180 km bus ride/rodeo ride. Another local squeezed in the back and I was on the hump. We were now officially packed sardine regulation size. And man oh manoschevitz, the nicotine breath on this guy would make paint melt. It's the type of smell that not only affects your olfactory lobes, but it's the type that you can taste in the air. You know what I'm talking about.
At about 10:45 AM, the pavement ended, and dirt road began. The scenery was absolutely stunning, with emerald green rice paddy fields, and hills strewn with elevated bamboo huts. This was contrasted by a cloudy gray sky with the sun peeking through. Stunningly beautiful that I wanted the bus driver to stop so I could take photos. But at 11 AM, the clouds turned on us and a monsoon like downpour began (coincidentally on the day after the official end of rainy season). We swerved, bumped, wiggled, slid, spun, bottomed out, bumped and grinded our way through the mud. Sounds more like a dance contest than a bus ride, but contrare mon frere, this was no disco. There was not one straight up or down or right or left on this entire ride. At about 11:10 AM, we stopped and waited for the other 2 trucks in the caravan to catch up. Our driver put some chains on the tires. I was anticipating a blizzard of mud. We started going uphill. The rain was coming down so hard, that it looked like a series of red rivers were coming down the dirt road. If I were a size of a rabbit, this would be a Class IV rapid. It felt more akin to salmon swimming upstream than a busride. We'd cross thes raging brown mini-rivers, puddles that looked like lakes, and every once in awhile we'd be on the edge of a cliff.
I would say to myself, 'There's no way he's going to make it throught that........well, I'll be damned, he made it through that (mudpile, hill climb, banked turn, or major body of water)'. This white-knuckled scenerio occurred more times than I could count. Sitting in the cab, I kept wondering what it would be like to sit in the back pickup bed since there were no sightlines looking forward (a plastic tarp covered the sides from the rain). Is it scarier to know what's coming up, or to not know? So we're bouncing along, jam packed, moving like a herd of turtles. I'm beyond uncomfortable, and I look at the clock and it's only 11:45 AM. Holy Jesus.
To make matters worse, the driver pops in some Laotian music on a scratchy monotone speaker system. This went on for about 6 or 7 hours straight, and each time I heard something, I said to myself, 'There's no way this tape can be worse than.......well, I'll be damned, this is 10 times as bad as the last tape'. I heard everything from Gong Show-esque game show tunes, Laotian pop music, Industrial Laotian techno rave music (who would have thought?) and piercing, ear screeching vocals to make you lose control of all your bodily organs and functions.
'I'm in a warm, happy place. I'm in a warm, happy place.'
At 3:30 PM, I thought we were going to tip over sideways when we careened into a bank. Couple western girls in the back screamed. Driver mimicked the screaming to the Laotians next to me 'Ahhhh, Ahhh, falang, falang'. I couldn't help but laugh.
Now this ride was supposed to get in at 5 PM.
At 4:30, the driver said we'd be in at 6 PM.
At 6 PM, he said 8 PM.
After that when asked what time we'd arrive, the driver would say 'blah blah blah, falang, falang', mimicking with his hands a gesture that seemed to say, get in the back, keep quiet, and we'll get there when we get there. Of course, this is Laotian time we're talking about.
Throughout the ride, we'd stop and wait for the other trucks. One truck in particular kept getting stuck in the mud. This also happened to be the truck with my backpack.
At around 8 PM (hey driver, what happened to 5 or 6 PM?), we stopped to wait for the other trucks. Throughout the trip, we encountered problems with all the trucks whether it was chains breaking, chains coming off, trucks stuck in mud, etc. The luggage truck in particular kept getting stuck. At 8:45 PM, still no sign of the other trucks. OK, I've resigned myself to the fact that I need to buy new clothes, somehow get new malaria pills, replace electric cords, etc. Eventually they showed up at around 9:15 PM. Sweet Jesus.
So now the caravan tries to stuck together, but luggage truck keeps getting stuck.
10:30 PM, 12.5 hours later, we stop at a fork (the only fork on this entire journey) and there's a red arrow sign pointing left. The driver says 'Uh-oh', (or the Laotian equivalent). I think to myself, now what. Apparently this entire mud road is under construction to be paved, and the good section going to the right is closed. We all had to jump out, climb a muddy hill in the dark while they try to get the trucks up the inclined mud swamp. The 3 drivers were busy McGyvering a bunch of chains together so that each truck would have at least a set of chains on each back wheel. At this point, a total of 3 sets of chains were broke. 'Hmmmm, they've driven this mudbath before. Why didn't they have an extra set or 12?'
As we climb up the hill, one British girl is yelling and screaming. She's yelling at the 20 or so Laotian passengers 'Where are we? How much further do we have to climb? I can't believe this crap! I'm suing'. Hint #1 lassie, they don't speak English.
It's now midnight, and we're waiting at the top of the hill.
And waiting.
And waiting.
And waiting.
The British girl is screaming once again, and asks me 'They said it's a 7 hour bus ride. They lied! You're an American, how do we sue these guys?'. Hint #2: Your yearly salary is more than the country's GNP. Do you think they have a lawsuits for cars getting stuck in the mud? We're in Laos, not London. You're on holiday in an underdeveloped country. What do you expect. You are so priveleged. Stop screaming, it's not helping any, and you look like a fool. It made me think that complaining and hissy fits are an invention/privelege of the the west. I did want to smack her, but I resisted the call of the Dark Side of The Force and held back.
'I'm in a warm, happy place. I'm in a warm, happy place.'
At 12:30 AM, we finally hear the trucks coming up the hill. It sounded like a pack of screaming boars. But of course, 20 meters after it reached the top, luggage truck got stuck.
And stuck again.
And again.
And again.
Most of us falang helped push the truck out of the mud. Some of us were barefoot. All of us were up to our ankles in mud. Meahwhile, our truck broke it's last set of chains. Great.
The scariest part of the entire trip was in between mud pushing sessions. I was now sitting in the pickup bed since the driver didn't want me in the back seat because of muddy feet (you're kidding me?!?!? Have you seen the inside of your dirty truck?). When we were hiking up, the Laotians were scattered in different pick-up spots further up the trail. We were the last in the caravan procession, and the Laotians who missed the first two trucks decided to try to jump on our rear bumper as we were going downhill. The sudden weight shift must have thrown off the driver. The backend fishtailed into the bank, I fell into the person across from me. We all thought we were going to tip over the side down a slope we couldn't see. As this is happening, I'm looking out the back of the truck, and I see a Laotian mun tumbling down the hill.
'God, did he fall off the bumper or did we hit him on the side of the road? Is he OK? Are we going to tip over? Are we ever going to get out of here?' All these thoughts in my head.
He must have been OK, since all the Laotians treated this as an everyday occurence. I later found out he was walking along the side, and dove out of the way of the truck as it was sliding into the bank.....and yes, it's much less scarier sitting in front than in the back not knowing what's coming up.
At 12:45 AM, we've moved a total of about 300 meters since being picked up, and luggage truck is stuck again. This time for a long time. I'm thinking, OK, we camp here for the night, and the first 4x4 truck to come by in the morning and hitching a ride either way.....and why don't these 'busses' have 4-wheel drive??? But I'll give it to the Laotians. They all worked hard, digging, shoveling, building tracks, jacking the truck up and placing stones down for traction. No one complained, and they all participated to get us out of the situation. Even the drivers who must have been exhausted having driven for over 12 hours through muck. It was quite admirable to see. But maybe they were all sick of hearing the British girl scream and complain.
I kept thinking, 'There's something to be said about staying on the beaten path...maybe there's something to be said about pre-packaged comfort tours....but no, this is just all part of the adventure...I'm in a warm happy place. I'm in a warm, happy place.' No wonder why most Laotians are Buddhists. Meditation seems the only way to get through some of these situations.
But luckily, 3 hours later and 16 tries later, we were able to finally dig the truck out, and get it out of a bog. At 4 AM, 18 hours later from the start, we finally roll into Luang Nam Tha, muddy, exhausted, but absolutely thrilled to be in a town. 7 of us walked around town for about an hour in the rain looking for accommodations before a guesthouse finally let us in. We must have looked like backpacking zombies. Whew, what a long day.
But I've got nothing to complain about. This adventure is nothing compared to The Ugly below. I'm blessed for being able to travel, compared to what some Laotians have gone through below.

you're still reading?!?
The Ugly
Did you know that the US government fought a 'Secret War' from 1965 to 1973 in eastern Laos. The US feared a 'domino effect' of southeast Asian countries falling into communism. The US military secretly carpet-bombed Laos trying to weed out Vietcong suspected in the area. A total of 580,344 missions were flown over Laos dropping two million tons of bombs. That's on average, one bomb every 7 minutes for 8 straight years. It's the most heavily bombed country in any one period of time. Try to find that in your history books.
The landscape still has signs of devastation. Some areas are unable to cultivate crops. About 30% of the bombs dropped failed to detonate, leaving some parts of the eastern landscape as a danger zone. Over 11,000 accidents have happened since 1973.
For my American taxpaying friends, this operation cost about $2.2 million per day. Now think of what the Iraq debacle is costing us.
Just plain ugly.

Anyway, thanks for tuning in, and I'll try to get some photos up when I get to a more travelled area, with full fledged internet connection.

But remember, always tax and sucker free, Dónde está Ché Pelotas?'

Friday, October 06, 2006

slow boat from china

actually not a boat, but every other type of transportation.
after 4 straight days of overnight trains, overnight busses, and one flight, i've finally made it to laos from china. made some critical traveller errors by buying a ticket from hong kong ahead of time, not booking a train ticket to laos in time, and so on. i broke my own cardinal rule of buying a ticket ahead of time instead of buying as i go. anyway, had to stop in bangkok (yuk) for a night as well as chiang rai in thailand. today, i crossed the mighty mekong river, and now i'm finally in laos at the border town of huay xai. border towns are usually not too exciting, but this one isn't bad (for one night that is). there's a buddhist temple at the top of the hill with beautiful views across the mekong towards thailand (would post pics, but with super slow ancient dialup, the process would take a week).

planning on getting out to luang nam tha for a trek or mountain bike ride, then luang prabang which is a UNESCO world heritage site...the entire town is. looking forward to a lot slower pace of life. already, it's like a breath of fresh air after the busy polluted cities that make up china. the people are warmer and friendlier, buddhist monks walking around everywhere, and even the border crossing officials are laid back and friendly.
although, it's pretty surreal at this internet place. these two kids (maybe 9 or 10 years old), keep yelling 'yu fukked yup, yu fukked up'...really weird. the parents are right here to. the australian couple next to me just looked at me, i looked back, and we both had our eyes bugging out till we started to laugh.....these surreal situations make every moment of travel an adventure. and, i think the parents might need to restrict their kids viewing habits and internet time.

anyway, don't know when i'll post again. not till luang prabang which is a bit more on the tourist trail. pretty rural right now, and internet is hard to come by....and really, really sllloooooowwwwww. till next time --- peace, love and Dónde está Ché Pelotas?'

Sunday, October 01, 2006

30,000 + 4 chinese words