Thursday, April 13, 2006
we are in Savannakhet at kham's aunts house now. i am enjoying the slower pace of things here more than i thought i would - it is a small town and the people are surprised to see an american since not many tourists come this way. i bought a tik shiro vcd at the market, and the shop owner told me how happy he was because i was the first foreigner to buy from him and help his business.
well, putting aside all the joking and sensationalism about the animals i eat, crashing tuk tuks, etc., i will say a few things about this particular trip here to Laos. this time has been extremely different for me than other trips i have taken. because i am behind the camcorder so much, video taping kham's return to Laos, i am forced to step outside the circle more and observe things in a different way. usually, i place myself in the center in order to absorb the interactions with those around me - and because its fun for me. so i am gaining a different understanding and appreciation of Laos and especially of kham's experience with it; i mean, not everyone needs to see Laos the exact same way i do. so i hope i am beginnning to realize that my experience here isn't necessarily the only one -or the right one.
anyway... i am very appreciative that kham's family has allowed me to participate in their trip home to Laos - and to witness and experience their family, their personal moments, and parts of their culture that i've never seen before.
maye one day i will step back and realize that i have been to Laos enough times and that it is out of my system. but it's amazing how much more there is out there - and even with the heat it is still energizing. but there's just a few more days here in Laos until we leave for Vietnam. there kham and i will meet up with jacob... then we will go separate ways. kham to the south, jacob and i to the north. my trip to Vietnam will end with me returning to Laos for one more week, while jacob and kham will return home. the first leg of the trip is almost over, and i am feeling as nostalgic as can be expected. (but no need to think of that now- there is still a lot more mangos, bowls of khao poun, and plates of laap waiting out there for me to eat.)