A Travellerspoint blog

November 2006

Separate Paths

How to read our blog

Your devoted authors will be heading in seperate directions beginning in December and weaving our trip back together at points. I (Sarah) will be remaining in Mae Sot, Thailand until about Christmas volunteering with some refugee CBOs here. Lauren will continue to explore the country on her own before headed to India to meet up with her family. As a result our blog postings will be referencing different places and will not flow with one another in a way that makes sense. When we completely seperate following India we will try to come up with a better solution, but for the time being please remember to check the author at the bottom of the posting to find out who you're looking at (that is of course, if it matters to you). You can always click our individual names at the right hand side to see only one or the others posting and photos.
Here's a refresher course in case we've been away too long and our fresh faces are foreign to you so soon:
la dn s at behai.jpg
Lauren is here on the left. Her name on the blog is lbassi. I'm on the right and my blogs end with ivory. Hope this helps.

Posted by Ivory 19:52 Comments (0)

A Piteous State of Affairs

Just as we suspected...


I now submit for your approval, The Thanksgiving Day Blues ; a piteous tale of two idealistic young women, a struggling nation and a dream.

Sarah and I took a walking tour of the city (Vientiane, Laos for those of you not updated) that day, thinking we would undoubtedly hit a restaurant or hotel with Thanksgiving dinner. We wandered for hours. We all but gave up hope and settled on an Aussie ex-pat bar with burgers, chicken and such. Then in our afternoon wanderings, we saw it. "Turkey dinner. Come experience American Thanksgiving. $7 special."

Our prayers had been answered. I remained skeptical, let me say for the record...having been in Vientiane for 4 days and not spotting a single American, my fears were well founded. But Sarah was adamant and we couldn't pass it up.

Eagerly, we went home, showered, changed into the nicest clothes we had, (not that nice...but still...) tried our best to beautify.

We arrived, breathless with anticipation. Ordered a bottle of white wine. They came back with two glasses of red.

This, in retrospect, should have been a sign.

They brought dinner...apparently they only heard us ask for one turkey dinner, and one they brought. We waited in vain for the second. Eventually, we decided to split it, then ask for another when the time came. Forks poised, we dug in.


It was terrible. Needless to say, this is not turkey country. Turkey had no flavor, no gravy and was dry. They put chili peppers in all of the veggies and potato's. There was no promised cranberry sauce. Instead of green beans they places a few salad leafs in the center. The promised pumpkin pie was spiced up beyond recognition.


Dejected, we paid our bill and went to the Aussie restaurant. This was Thanksgiving goddamn it. And we were going to be full to the point of vomiting if it killed us. Another meal was ordered, and then we were informed that a special presentation was happening upstairs about unexploded bombs left from the Vietnam War and their effect in Laos. We took our meal up there, and enjoyed our burgers over tales of 30% of the bombs dropped on Laos not exploding during the war, causing an enormous casualties in the last 30 years, wreaking havoc on the economy, etc. Not your typical Thanksgiving chatter.

We got out too late for any real dessert.

Misery misery misery.

And then suddenly in an embarrassed rush we remembered.

We have quite a bit to be thankful for.

Posted by lbassi 06:47 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

A breath of fresh air

So this is Laos

A much belated entry on Laos. It's hard to sum up a quick two weeks in such an amazing country. The heat and the Thai pop drumming loudly in the background make it impossible at the moment for me to gain the presence of mind to say anything about the country that would do it justice - so instead I'll steal a passage from a book that more or less gives the feeling we've had here and let the photos do the rest of the talking.

"French colonial administrators sent to Laos felt they had been posted to an earthly paradise. The tolerant, easy habits of the native people and the slow casual way they lived their lives had a charm impossible to find anywhere else. The most commonly used phrase in the language, Bo Pen Yong meaning "It doesn't matter," was spoken with conviction as an article of faith...Frenchmen who became immersed in Laotion life became a recognizable type, their quiet, undemonstrative voices, calm manners, and gentle rapt expressions reminded one of the victims of successful lobotomy operations, untroubled and mildly libidinous." (Christopher Robbins, The Ravens: Pilots of the Secret War in Laos).

This was, of course, prior to the many wars that ravaged the country. However, despite the legacy of violence and a rather strict communist regime in power, Laos still casts a very similar spell as it did so many decades before.
reclining buddha eyes.jpg


typical wat.jpg

sunset with branch.jpg




Posted by Ivory 06:21 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

My Kingdom for a Turkey Dinner

And by kingdom, I mean 10x10 hostel room, shared bathroom and maybe my backpack...

Well friends, it's a sad state of affairs.

The day before Thanksgiving. I'm sure you're all running around baking pies and putting on your winter coat, greated with a chill in the air and the smell of fresh pine trees. Complaining about how Christmas music is already on the radio and what is the world coming to. Debating about which tie to wear and how to avoid your crazy Uncle ______.

We curse you all. Ungrateful snivling twits thats what you are.

Here we sit in Laos. We have scowered the fine capital city of Vientiane, but to no avail.

Tomorrow we shall dine on a sad looking feast of fried rice and pickled vegtables, undoubtedly. As you sit there with your champagne and bicker over who get's to slice the bird.

No turkey. No mashed potatos. No cranberry sauce or stuffing and gravy and muffins and salad and pie, oh dear god the pie.

"But you guys get to take a trip around the world!" you say.

Bite me you turkey eating mongrels.

xoxo from Southeast Asia,

Your Favorite Bribing Canadians

Posted by lbassi 06:11 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Artistic genius come alive in Laos

The slow boat blues.

As you can imagine, months of travel leave one with a lot of empty time at hand. Countless hours spent on trains, buses, and boats push wary travellers to the limits of bordom. After reaching a score of 8000 in Gin-Rummy last week we decided we needed a new way to entertain ourselves. If only we had an instrument we thought. Perhaps we could teach ourselves guitar. No, that wouldn't do -- a guitar would be unwieldy. What about a harmonica one asked? Ah yes, the answers to all of our earthly desires -- a harmonica upon which to play the blues. Soon we were carried away by the music - inventing blues lyrics for every possible woe we could think of. Here's a little taste of a diddy that came to me on the boat to Luang Prabang -- mind you, it had been a rough morning, and our boat really did leave us.

slow boat.jpg

The Slow Boat Blues (It sounds better with Lauren on the imaginary harmonica)

Our boat gone and left us, bout an hour ago
We'd no one to turn to, all of the drivers said no.
"We don't know the way," they said with a grin
No choices to choose from, things looked mighty grim
Our hope had done vanished, we'd knew we'd been jipped
So we followed the masses, to an overfilled ship

Ooh! It was a sloooow boat, slow boat to Laos (pronounced Kennedy style Lay-ous for the purposes of this song)
Yes, it was a sloooow boat, out of the chaos...

Please direct all record deal negotiations to my personal email.
mekong fog.jpg

Posted by Ivory 05:42 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

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