I know it has been a while, but my life has begun to move at such a pace that I hardly give things like ‘the internet’ and ‘diaryland’ much thought anymore. I get six hours of internet use per month (many people use that in one day! Tsk tsk!), so I do a lot of e-mailing through Outlook, where I can type and read e-mails offline.
I have had a lot of new experiences in the three months I have been in Laos so far.
I wanted to tell more specifics about my trip to a different province in the southern region of Laos. I have been taking weekly language lessons since we first arrived from a Lao girl in her mid-twenties, Nettie. Nettie invited me to come on her yearly visit to her parent’s home in Savannakhet. I was so excited to be able to leave the city life of Vientiane and experience a few days of life in a more rural part of Laos.
Our trip began with a nine hour bus ride. Nettie constantly worried that I was secretly and silently starving to death, so she fed me snacks at regular intervals. I had some new food experiences, tasting green mangoes with salt and dried squid (it wasn’t half bad, but I threw the beak out the bus window…) When we finally arrived in Savannakhet at about 8:30 pm, Nettie’s sister quickly prepared us a late dinner.
The next day, Nettie took me to see nearly everything of interest in Savannaket. We began the day with a breakfast of noodle soup, followed by a visit to a garden on the Mekong River, where we stopped and ate papaya salad (a Lao favorite consisting of shredded papaya, fermented fish paste, and many hot chilies). In the afternoon, we went to a local stupa (a stupa is a place where Buddhists go to worship. A Stupa is thought to contain a piece of Buddha, such as some hair a tooth or a bone. It would be buried under or built into the structure). Nettie offered some incense and prayers to Buddha, asking him for blessings, and I took pictures and asked questions. After our visit to the Stupa, we went to a big park called the Coconut Garden, where we had a nice photo opportunity atop a large statue of a dinosaur. Nettie explained to me that some dinosaur bones had been found in Savannakhet, and the next day she took me to a small museum so we could see some of the bones. I was amused at the museum because it was very small and was not climate controlled. I couldn’t help but notice there was gecko poop inside of the cases that held various fossils. At the end of the tour, the resident archeologist suddenly got excited and took us with him to some sort of work room that had many, many dinosaur bones laying all over the place. He insisted that I pick up one or two of the bones and hold them, for the experience. I felt a little guilty, standing there holding a dinosaur bone. I think the guilt stemmed from having only ever been in museums in America, where one might very well be shocked with a stun gun for attempting to lay a finger on such ancient relics.
After three days in Savannakhet I had seen most of the sights and thought it best to return to Nick in Vientiane and leave Nettie to enjoy the last few days of her family visit alone. P>
In other news, we got a new kitten, Noodles, in October.
More later. How much later, who can tell?
Oh yeah, I want to brag about something for a second here. One more thing I have been doing in the last month: I read WAR AND PEACE cover to cover. Yeah, I'm scholarly. That's me. Oww oww!