Walk Home with Me

What was that?  You’re joining me for my walk home? Sure, I’d love to tell you about my day!  And I can definitely point out some places along the way.  I’ll grab my keys from the desk drawer, meet you on the front steps of the museum and then we can set off.  You know me, I don’t carry a purse and my pockets were a little overflowing today so I might ask you to hold something.

These clouds? Remember when I told you about the clouds hugging the mountains?  This is what I was talking about.  Pretty, right?  It’s a nice view from the museum as long as you don’t look down.  The road is kind of messed up with pot holes and its a bumpy ride on a moped but whatever.  I think I even got some air going down the slight hill on a moped once!

My day was pretty good.  Lots of meetings. There were a couple of standout moments for the day but more or less just your standard meetings.  I learned today that not only do I need to learn to speak Lao but I need to relearn simple English. Really simple.

That was fast, we’re at the bottom of the little hill and need to make a right here.  But that store with the umbrellas out front just ahead is where I found the peanut butter.  Its also where I’ve been getting my breakfast the past 2 days:  M&Ms.  I’ve given up on breakfast.  I don’t want to buy expensive Western food and don’t want to buy Lao food that will upset my stomach soooo I’ve been eating M&Ms.  Yeah, its not healthy by any means (maybe protein from the peanuts inside??) but of all the thinking about stuff I have to do, I decided it wasn’t worth it to think so much about breakfast.  Anyway, lets turn right here.

This is a main road and in the evenings trucks line the street to sell fruit.  That truck right there usually has a little boy with mismatched socks playing behind it on the sidewalk, but it looks like he’s playing in the truck bed with the fruit today. You can’t even see him.

What’s with all the meetings?  Well, today there was a management meeting and then staff lunch and then staff meeting then continuation of the morning management meeting.  At the staff lunch I formally introduced myself and there was a great moment when the guy I showed the index to yesterday told me he had used it today!  I swear, he’s one smiley guy.  He can be talking about the most depressing thing and have a smile on his face.  The lunch was delicious—and we all ate with our hands.  I FINALLY got to eat that fish I’ve had my eye on since I moved here.  Haha, no its not the SAME fish.  Just the kind that they grill on a stick on the street.  The Lao guys I work with ate really quickly and I felt a little self-conscious still eating after they had all left the table.  I waited TWO WEEKS for that fish, though.  And the food was actually yummy.  Plus with my M&M breakfast and not having had dinner the night before there was nothing but space for all that food.

Hmm…keep going straight or turn?  If we went straight there’s not much to see at this time of day so lets walk through the night market.  Its 5:40pm so its still a little early and stalls are still getting set up.  But there’s stuff to see so lets turn right here, too.

Early night market preparations.

The meetings were mostly in Lao, which makes sense but I found myself frustrated that I couldn’t speak it yet.  I asked one of the staff how much of my English he could understand and he said about 40%! I said I’d just have to learn Lao more quickly and he said “If you speak Lao to us then we really won’t understand!”  In my mind I was like, “But I just decided yesterday that maybe I might be smart maybe!!” But part of me wonders if I can actually learn it well.

To your left is a bank. I kinda think its a shame that its not something more exciting since its pink and all.

Its also too bad we’re not passing by here 20 minutes later.  In the evenings the monks gather in the temples and recite prayers or something.  I’m not totally sure what they’re doing but I just kind of like to stand nearby and listen to the sounds coming out of there. No instruments, just unison chanting.  To me it sounds lovely, but I also like Gregorian chant.  Its not for everyone, but I do wish you could have heard it at least once.

If you look closely behind the night market stalls you can see monks out in front of the wat in their signature orange robes. A guy who works in the museum used to be a monk.  He’s married now with a kid. But he told me that when his kids grow up and move away as adults he’ll return to being a monk and live separately from his wife.  I don’t know if its true or not, but he said that’s normal.

Its time to turn again, lets head left this time.  This road doesn’t look like much right now, but I like walking down this street at night and looking at the stars.  On the left is the wat we just passed.

More standout moments?  Two days ago I was a little late to work cause I got caught up in a discussion with a couple from New Zealand on vacation in LP about the Laos psyche and the couple’s travels in the Laos countryside (which I would really love to see, despite the warnings I’ve gotten about unexploded ordnances).  Today, the wife from the couple came to the museum and we had a nice chat as I told her what my job was there.  She gave me a hug when I had to leave (another moped ride somewhere) and said that she and her husband, after I left them at breakfast, had said that my smile would take me many places in life where language couldn’t.  What a nice thing to say!  Oh, and this moped ride? I did it one handed. Progress! Still not comfortable with no touching but maybe next time…??

At that lightpost we’ll turn left again.  Sorry if it smells.  This is the morning market street and people leave their food trash out.  So between the smell and the buzzing of the flies, this isn’t my favorite street to walk down.  Oh yeah! Why didn’t I take you up one block further by the river.  Oh well, next time we’ll go that way.

Enough about me, I want to hear about you!  What have you been up to?  Got any exciting plans coming up?

Sorry, I can’t hear you very well.  Maybe you could EMAIL me what’s been going on… 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll keep on with the tour.  That there is just the right side of the street.  Nothing important (at least that I know of, I’m sure its important to someone).

Here’s my street.  I look for the arrow that says “Vil a Meuanglao” (the second “L” is missing). I live next door to the place.  Lets turn right.

Here’s my street. We’re almost home.  This is where the kiddie pool was.

Villa Meuang

The house across the street from where I’m staying.

Annnnnd, we’re home.  Thanks for walking back with me.  Lets do this again!

7 thoughts on “Walk Home with Me

  1. Lisa says:

    Alicia: It was super fun to hear about your day and where you were living; and such a creative way to do it. I agree with that sweet couple that your smile will take you places, but also your amazing personality and your joy that seeps out of you; way to be the aroma to all of those lucky enough to be around you–especially on that smelly steet ; ) Thanks for being such a welcomed distraction from my paperwork today. I love you sister and I am so glad our paths crossed in that third world country known as Hampton Beach

  2. Dr. Rita Twiggs says:

    What a refreshing gift you are! My, I feel like I just watched you go inside. 🙂 indeed I will visit often. Your writing is solo inviting and engaging. And the pics were breathtaking! I am soooooo proud of you. Keep writing. Love you much!
    Aunt Rita

  3. feetcrymercy says:

    There’s a picture of the outside of the house on facebook I think. Once I move into my own place and actually unpack and stuff I’ll post pictures. I’m staying in the film festival director’s place and feel weird posting shots of the inside of a “public figure’s” house. I’m looking at houses this week though… so, maybe soon.

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