Friday, December 31, 2010

the writing is on the wall

we went to the patouxai (victory gate) monument in viengchan, the capitol city of Laos.

as i climbed my way to the top, i noticed all the writing on the walls - people making wishes or praying for things - i couldn't help myself but go around and read what everyone had asked for - and i spent so long doing it, i had to run down the stairs to catch up with everyone. well, i took pictures... and i hope the wishers don't mind...

this one is asking to study well and pass all his or her tests and advance...

almost the same thing: "may i study well and advance in all my classes."

this one is succinct: "may i be more beautiful"

this one wants to be more beautiful, but also adds that he/she wishes for lighter skin...

then there's the wishes about finding true love or not having anything get in the way of that true love...

and then my favorite: "may i find a girlfriend in the next three hours, amen!" and then following that is his phone number. if you are calling from the usa, you'll need to dial 0085602 and then his number.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

up to luang prabang

i've been kind of scattered in my posting - but this was our basic itinerary in Laos: we arrived and spent about 2 days in viengchan before going to vangvieng. see my previous posts. (but really you can avoid all the trouble makers by setting out on the river early while the falangs are still dealing with their hangovers.)

maly, do you remember bounmy? i ran into him in vangvieng and he took us out kayaking for the morning! jacob, i can't remember if we met up with him when you and i went...
then we left for luang prabang. here are photos from the road:

kone's brother knew of a natural hot spring on the way up north. so we stopped for a while and got in the water before heading back to the road...

i think this one of the most beautiful drives in all of Laos - although the swerving roads and the altitude change going through the mountains makes it kinda tough. hia, the youngest member of our pilgrimage, threw up twice: once for the way up, and once for the way back down. here he is below sending a clear signal that puking in the van doesn't mean he's a wimp.

after three nights in luang, we headed back to viengchan - and then i left for the south of Laos to visit the family i know from the usa - before returning to viengchan.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

gonna take you down to the market

we went to a market on the outside of viengchan - going to markets are one of my favorite things by the way - everything about it.

well, really this is my favorite thing about the market. i have eaten mangosteens so many times in the past week, i shoulda had my fill, but i don't think it's possible. if i was gonna get the option for a last meal before i died, mangosteen would be on the menu. and this might delay my executioners until they could get a trip to Laos to pick it up for me.

all the different types of sticky rice that you can find in Laos. in the usa, you can't get sticky rice from Laos, just what is imported from thailand.

so there are not only crickets, but crickets and crickets, and more types of crickets. (each type of crickets have their own name, and each has a different flavor. i know, because i tried one of each until i settled on my two favorites that i purchased to take with me. i couldn't find cool ranch doritos in Laos, so this really is the next best thing,)

some real nice tib khao. i bought a couple since the ones the sell in the usa (imported from thailand again) are real ugly and cheaply made.

Monday, December 27, 2010

christmas in Laos

just a quick post since i haven't been online for sometime now. i was out in the countryside, and i just got back a bit ago... i actually spent christmas out there in the baan nok - which is kind of funny considering how many places i could have celebrated christmas (like the philippines, or any of the big cities in Laos and thailand would've at least had decorations up around the town.) it just so happened that my schedule landed me in the southern most part of Laos where most people haven't even really heard of christmas. but before anyone feels sorry for me, i had a really nice time down there. i went to visit a family that used to live in the usa, but chose to leave urban seattle for rural Laos. they have electricity now, but that one little bulb wasn't enough to keep my from going to bed with the nightfall and waking up with the sun. well, i did stay up long enough to eat koi pa with khao niaow and cheo pong. i'm sure i've said this before, but there really is something so mesmerizing about rural Laos - all the sounds of the bugs and chickens and pigs and cows. and the neighbors stopping by to join you for some khao piak pet and ping pa...i didn't take many pictures, because i was focused on getting video. but i have some pictures i'll be posting soon.

merry christmas and happy new year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


i got to Laos yesterday, and we met up with kone's older brother (half brother - from one of his dad's mia noys) and he has been showing us around. lotta fun i gotta say, and i am reminded why i keep coming to Laos time and time again. and i don't think i am biased here; even foreigners that have travelled southeast asia always say how they like Lao the best. we did all the requisite stops: that louang, patou xai, dog restaurant, and the morning market.

today we came up to vang vieng and we'll play around here a bit before heading up to luang prabang tomorrow.

and just so i'm clear: i didn't take the above picture. i tried to upload some here but this internet cafe's usb thing aint workin right.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

china town

i went to china town, got fresh noodles at a spot recommended by my guidebook, and checked out the sights.

then i found manny pacquiao hanging out among the newest shipment of flat screen tvs. when he's not boxing or being congressman, he advertises for 3D televisions i hear.

i have no idea what this advertisement might mean... i can't even begin to guess. but i think i might call the number just so i can find out.
i had planned on taking the monumental (the raised train you see here) to see the chinese cemetery, but nobody could clearly tell me which line to take. i kept getting different answers from everyone i asked. so i finally gave up and went across the street to a mall where i stumbled upon a karaoke lounge. there was the guy in there singing whitney houston's greatest love of all... and it was awesome. he sang the verses in this whispy falsetto, but when he hit the chorus, he belt out the song like he thought i was randy jackson coming to audition him for idol. (i get that sometimes.)

rumor has it that jack bauer started working here at this little mini-mart after losing his job with ctu.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


this is where kone and keo are staying - taken from the terrace on the 7th floor; their unit is up there somewhere on the 42nd.

kone throwing the football with justin and jerry

from the balcony

the mall is right across the street and its got everything you'd ever want to eat (almost.) jerry on the left and i chose to eat some japanese food (pepper lunch). its this hot plate that cooks the food when they bring it out to you. and justin prefers his dinner to be macdos. i can sympathize with both positions.

this mall sure knows how to set up a christmas tree