Last night at Sunset Bar

February 1, 2004

I”m marvelling at some particular good luck today; managed to hire the best mountain bike in Laos, its an absolute rocket so have been tearing up the motorbikes and tuk-tuks around town, weaving in and out laughing my tits off. Consequently had an extensive exploration of the city including Phat That Luary, the supposedly most important Budhist monument in Laos, impressive but I think I’ve had my fill of Watts and monatries for the time being, various local markets and also found the most idealistic bar overlooking the Mekong called the Sunset bar, about half Km ride from Joe’s Guest house down the river, absolulety stunning views of the sunset where I’m writing this from at 5p.m, reminds me of the similar views from my Auntie’s House in Marthas vinyard 12 years ago. The bar is typically a ramshakle structure knocked together with a few bits of timber hanging over the river bank.

I’m getting fairly lashed at the moment sitting here listening to a great guitarist on the next table playing Led Zep’s Going to california, think I’ll sign off, goodnight.

Thought of the day; if human destruction is genocide does that make the chicken culling Henocide

 

Vientiane

January 29, 2004

Arrived late last night in Vientiane, it’s is a small, dusty capital about 40 minutes in a plane south of Luang Prabang. It is uncrowded and appears fairly laid back. As in Bangkok and Chiang Mia, saffron-robed monks walk the streets and tuk tuks ply the avenues. Walking around, you have to watch where you’re going: you can easily fall into an open storm drain or sewer .

Decided to hire a pushbike to have a look around the city, had breakfast outside the hostel I’m staying in, its a bit of shithole but for 5 dollars you can’t complain, had a look around the Morning Market and browsed the shops and stalls there. There’s the usual handicrafts, antiques and clothing for sale, nothing of particular interest and they didn’t hassle me too much which was a surprise.

Then cycled up to the Patu Xai Monument, a kind of a garish Arc de Triomphe that was built in 1962 out of concrete. Concrete is not a good medium for making beautiful sculptures! To be honest not wishing to dis the Laos number one monument but The Arch is rather ugly, it does afford you a bird’s eye view of the city and is worth a visit for that reason. On the way back we passed by then Ntaionalk Cultural Centre where I tried to walk in before a rather surprised military guy with a machine gun ushered me out. Also checked out the National Art museum which was closed so maybe I’ll check it out tomorrow.

I’ve got until Monday before I fly to Hanoi in Vietnam so I’m wondering if I should stick around town, itching for some lagers tonight so I’ll see what happens, maybe I’ll gatecrach one of the local’s line dancing parties. check it out tomorrow.

Books read so far

JM Coetzee- Disgrace Good David Trink- A biography of Thai Brothels Insightful Louis De Bernieres- Captian Corelli’s Mandolin Fantastic Alice Sebold- The Lovely Bones Good so far

 

The Low Roller (TLR)

January 27, 2004

At some stage on my trip it had to happen, despite my best attempts to fine tune my instincts and antennae to all visible giveaway signs i.e rucksacks covered in wire mesh, bright coloured bandannas, patches sown onto rucksacks of places visited, (yuk!) inevitably at some stage I would be forced tinto spending time with the ubiquitous low roller. The travelling low roller (TLR’s) tends to be harder to spot at first glance, compared to the urban London species as they’ve usually learnt how to blend into the crowd. This particualrly low roller was a well travelled TLR, he was so clingy I literally had to fly out of town to get away from him. I will not be so rude as to mention his country of origin, lets just say he was from one of the colder parts of Europe, and at this point I’d like to decline any invitations to Denmark this summer, sorry folks. This guy was a Low roller of the highest order, a class one muppet, the worst thing about meeting him was that he had a goatee beard. I actually shaved mine off with a carving knive for 3 days after I left him in the hope none of his mannerisms would rub off on me, luckily it doesn’t seem to be as contagious as bird flu. Apparently when you have Colonic Irrigation shit is sucked through your mouth, this guy was on a permanent life long quest to be irrigated; every sentence, every word he spoke, every mannerism was steeped in the stench of bullshit. He knew everything, he’d shagged more birds, he said he’d been hit on by more women on this trip than anyone he’d met, I quitely mumbled to myself under my breath that most of his destinations were full of prostitues anyway so it was hardly surprising. I really hope one day he does himself a favour and gets his private parts sown onto his forhead and has ears replaced by his testicles, it might improve his hearing. As a parting fairwell gift he left a nice 40,000 kip bill (strangely when I was having a kip) at my guest house on his early morning departure.