Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Secrets of the noodle burrito people

Laos, baby, Lao! Sabai Dee (hello)! Noodle soup with vegetable? Yes please, and pass the soy sauce and chili, please. Rip yourself off a piece of lettuce, grab some noodles with chopsticks, place the noodles in the greens, add a piece of mint, roll up, and enjoy! Life may never be the same. For lunch have some sticky rice; reach your hand into a woven bowl, dig your fingers into the sticky-riceness, grab a palm full, roll into a ball, and eat it like finger food. Perhaps dip it into some spice.

We entered through Na Meo from Vietnam without a hitch. The word on the street about the prospects of being let in ranged from "Perhaps, you will have to bribe, though" to "absolutely not, drop that idea immediately". Well, I would like to tell all of the naysayers that we danced our way through with limited paperwork, a learner's driver's license, and no bribes.

The road led directly into... nothingness. Rainy blank mountainsides for kilometers upon kilometers. Thankfully the pavement is in really good condition, but it is evident that the Lao road construction codes allow for much steeper inclines than their Vietnamese neighbors. We have spent three days and two nights pounding out 400 km through vast expanses of mountain ranges and have finally arrived at the Plain of Jars area, wikipedia it if you are interested.

There have been many adventures, including meeting some insane travelers from Europe and running out of gas in the middle of nowhere.

I enjoy the subtle and not so subtle differences between Lao and Vietnam. Lao enjoy cleaning and doing dishes. Lao paint their houses blue instead of pink or orange pastel. Lao social rules allow for no touching, be it handshakes, arm taps, or shoulder rubs, whereas in Vietnam even personal space is communistic.

We are to spend a day here seeing the sites then will charge on down to the capital for a while then continue charging down to Bangkok in time for the Bangkok Ultimate Frisbee tournament on February 16th.