In Laos


22 May 2004

It is early evening, the sun is setting soon, I suppose. The reason I am not too sure is because we are surrounded by hills, mountains with such lush greenery I can’t really tell what time it is exactly. The river is near as we have been travelling all day by boat from Chiang Khong, Thailand; first southeast, then east, and finally north with a brief stop for official business, as far as the boat delivery to authorities of the manifest, which included travelers from the world-over: Belgium, Mexico, Thailand, Italy, Germany, Australia, England, Ireland, Spain, Canada and, of course, where I was made – the United States of (north) America.

Actually I shouldn’t say, of course, because there are not many U.S. travelers, and certainly no Black Americans on this leg of my trip. It seems because of the infrastructure of Laos not being built up, it discourages the tourist who want what they are used to “back home” in the States – opulence, convenience, luxury…

But my position is what luxury does one really need? A good mattress, a fan to cool you and discourage the mosquitoes…

Real opulence?  A hot shower, maybe…?

Now I am going heavy into traveler’s mode; watching my money and spending habits. Spending every Kip wisely…hopefully.

Every new country I come to I had been advised, before leaving on this Journey in October, I should pour a bit of the local drink into the soil and ask the ancestors of that land for safe passage and compassion.

(I actually added the compassion part.)

So I have just opened a can of Beer Lao, brewed in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, on Thadeua Road…and asked for the safe passage and compassion I have asked in France and South Africa, with wine; India, with water; Thailand with beer.

This is really the end of a nine year journey that started in February of 1996, and will officially end in the summer of next year when I renew my U.S. passport for another 10 years.

At that time I will begin another nine year commitment with the youth of Bush Radio in Cape Town. Over-lapping the original journey which brought me through the Czech Republic (great beer), Holland, the USA, Canada, Mexico, and Jamaica. 

All this is now over-lapping with the action of a voiced desire to live someplace, have a base other than the United States of North America…to that end, I have decided to relocate to Cape Town, South Africa to make it my base of activities.

So the following chronicle of events are dedicated to what I will be experiencing for the next 27 days as I travel through (the) Lao People's Democratic Republic. My plan is to only stay in two places, while visiting, maybe, five places.

I think it is best to spend time in a place, rather than a few days, then moving off to another spot on the globe in an effort to gather as many stampings as (travel) time will allow in ones passport.

10 to 15 days in one place is not enough but it is better than 2 or 3 days. I think being in a place for over 2 months is best. Laos allows 15 day as well as 30 day visas. I chose the longer visa. So far on this (East Asia) journey, the one place I have “felt” the most was Pai, Thailand. There will be a festival there for seven weeks beginning on July 7th of the year 2007. I plan to be there some weeks before and experience the happening fully at the Moon Village in Pai.

Back to Laos…I have brought a 27 exposure disposable camera and will take one photo each day and write each day. Thus I begin tomorrow morning, Sunday, 23 May 2004.