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.