Working My Way Through the Bucket List

Ah, Laos. I’ll forgive you eventually for making me so ill (which I am still – just won’t quit). For how could I stay angry with a place that allowed me to check two items off my bucket list? I sat and did a whole lotta nothing for two days on the boat (yes I’d wanted to do three, but realistically there is no way I could sit and do nothing for three days, as all of you who know me could attest). And then, after climbing Mount Phousi (part of “let’s go bananas with exercise and forget about the heat” day – aka the day where my stomach died), I sat and watched the most spectacular sunset over the Mekong River.

Laos has been a lot of fun. So laid back and charming, with small villages, locals that greet you with a smile, friendly and ADORABLE animals and beautiful scenery. Sadly I had to skip out on tubing due to my wonky stomach, and I wasn’t able to access my bank account until the day before leaving (always bring more money than you think you’ll need, and CHECK with your bank that your card is valid in the country you’re visiting, which “grandma” didn’t), I was never really stressed about it, and I think this was due to the calm attitudes of the locals. And the deep pockets of my trip buddies!

We wrapped up our last night in the country tonight with a few rounds of bowling in Vientiane. A great deal at 10,000 kip per game (which works out to roughly $1.20 Canadian including shoes), you’ll all be pleased to know that my bowling skills have not improved whatsoever during my time away. In fact, they may have worsened. At one point I nearly flew down the alley with the ball after stumbling over the slippery floor. Which really should come as no surprise.

Thanks Laos for the great hospitality! If you’re ever in this neck of the woods or are looking for a snapshot of what Asia used to be like, check it out.

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Shower Wars

So I flooded my hotel bathroom today. Granted, there’s only a teeny, tiny drain for the shower, and like many Asian showers it’s all one room – toilet, sink, shower all together. There was a curtain but really I think that was more for show than any useful purpose. But at any rate, without glasses, and without paying much attention, I failed to notice the water FLYING EVERYWHERE until I realized that I could go all Gene Kelly in there and by that point, it was too late.

I haven’t had too much trouble getting used to Asian toilets – the bucket thing makes sense, although the squat toilets do leave me initially puzzled if it’s early in the morning. But these showers! Man oh man. I’ve flooded at least three bathrooms now. The others dried out faster. But as this one looks again like it could be from The Shining, it took an appropriately long time to dry out.

Eventually I’ll get the hang of showering with what is essentially a hose, and I’ll figure out the writing on the dials (hot and cold seem to be interchangeable/non-existent in some places). Of course by that point I’ll probably be heading somewhere else!