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Good tourist, bad mood

LAOS | Monday, 15 March 2010 | Views [443] | Comments [1]

I awoke this morning in a rotten mood. Actually, I awoke wanting to cause someone bodily harm. No one in particular, I just wanted a flesh-colored punching bag. Holy Dinah, I hate hormones. After a full assessment of my disposition, I wisely decided to a) avoid human contact; b) see some of the sights in Vientiane and c) take a long walk. I was fortunate in that one of the most famous places to see in Vientiane, Pha That Luang, is about a 5km walk from my hotel. That covered b) and c). As far as a) was concerned, I would do my part if the other people in Vientiane would do theirs. I went downstairs to get my free breakfast (eggs, sausages, fruit and toast--I was hungry) and I was out walking by 9:00am.

The first thing that I noticed on my walk was the air quality. It was hot by this time, but not humid and I could breathe. The second thing that I noticed was the lack of crowds. Their was a fair enough amount of traffic going on, but nothing like Bangkok. I didn’t feel like I had to run for my life when crossing a street. I didn’t feel as though I would get run down by a motorcycle on the sidewalk. I have heard that Vientiane was the most laid-back capital in the world and so far I had a fair amount of evidence to support this claim. It was enough to ease my tension….slightly. As I approached the golden stupa of Pha That Luang, several tour buses stopped in front of it and a large number of Lao tourists poured through the temple gates just in front of me. The walk must have relaxed me more than I realized because I felt comfortable touring the temple amongst them. They were a well behaved group who didn’t mind having a ferang in their presence, so we all got on well, and I even managed to return a few shy smiles they sent in my direction. At around 10:30, I started back towards my hotel. The temperature had climbed and my sunscreen was starting to melt off. Five kilometers later, I was very thankful that I had sprung for a hotel room with a/c. All I wanted to do was put my feet up and have a cool drink.

It is quite probable that I could have shaken my bad mood if I had stayed in my hotel room for the remainder of the day, but I didn’t. I went out to get a document scanned and e-mailed and I was disgusted by the price that they charged me to do this. I let them know this too, but, to my credit, I did not use any foul language. I can handle a few storm clouds in my sky. I tried to order at a smoothie shop only to have an impatient mother cut in front of me to order a drink for her daughter. A few rumbles of thunder accompanied the gathering storm clouds. I found out that somewhere, somehow I lost my f***ing guidebook. Lightening crackled as a full-blown thunderstorm kicked off. I have been trying to stick to a budget. Books come at a premium in Asia, particularly guidebooks. You can get meds here for cheap, but a used paperback will run you a good seven dollars (US)!! More frustrating was that I had no one to blame but myself. If I dropped the book--finders keepers. I just can’t win. These blood-sucking Asians prey on anyone with fair skin. Dammit, dammit, dammit.

My first instinct was to find someone to inflict abuse upon, mental, physical…whatever. My second instinct was to find someone to feel pity for me, but I can’t do that. My dad does that……I hate it. I re-embraced the “avoid human contact” tactic. I breathed. I weighed my options. Do I go on without a guidebook? A lot of the information is out of date, but the maps are very useful. I can get those off of the internet….if I have the internet available. OK. OK. Things aren’t so bad. What have you lost? A guidebook? You still have your wallet, your credit card, your ID. You still have your passport and your computer. It could be a lot worse,. Breathe, dammit, breathe. Tomorrow, search all of your luggage and then go downstairs to ask if anyone has turned one in. It never hurts to ask. If no one has, then go and buy another one. It’s only ten dollars. Think about all of the stupid things that you have paid ten dollars for. If it turns out that someone has sold your book to the bookshop, DO NOT SAY ANYTHING TO THE LADY WHO OWNS IT! It’s not her fault. There is no conspiracy. Suck it up.

It took several hours of HBO, a bag of fat-free rice crackers and a tube of full-of-fat Oreos to reduce the storm to a drizzle. Maybe that is not the best way to handle a foul mood, but at least I didn’t torture someone else with it. I think that shows amazing growth on my part. I may not be a Zen master yet, but one step at a time….one step at a time.



There is an interesting story about Guide Books going missing at Greenleaf. Melissa, do you remember being up all night worrying because you had forgotten you had borrowed a Guide Book and you were concerned about the owners missing it? We were all so concerned that you were upset.

  Sir Richard May 28, 2010 9:54 PM

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