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paco lolo in laos

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

sabaidy, dear readers, and greetings from vientiane, laos. we say “lao” over here, not “laoS”. ya gotta drop the “s” if ya want to speak like a native. anyhootie, after a very mellow few days in northern thailand, nong khai to be exact, i’ve arrived in lovely laid back and a little bit loco laos.

my first impression (granted, i’ve only been here for 4 hours so far): good! the folks seem genuinely nice and helpful, and not out to rip me off IMMEDIATELY, unlike in thailand (sorry thailand stokers. this was indeed my burden in thailand, mainly from those tuk tuk drivers. scammers all of them). to its credit, however, thailand does indeed have it’s fare share of wonderfully nice and sincere folks. bangkok was a bit busy and noisy and smoggy for my taste and, since i’m not into shopping, it didn’t have much to keep me there. if i were in the market for silk weavings of any kind, i’d drop big dollars there for sure. gorgeous work they crank out!

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Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

ummm, yeah, i know it’s been awhile since i have updated ye olde blog. it’s taken a bit to get back into the blogging groove and, admittedly, i’m not all the way back in it yet. here is a brief update:

after spending 2 solid days in transit from havana to bangkok, i spent a night and most of yesterday doing rudimentary things like getting acquainted with crazy-go-nuts bangkok, getting ripped off by tuk tuk drivers, indulging in some of the finest nourishment i’ve yet encountered, and the most needed of all (besides cooling off with Tiger Beers), naps. i am jetlagged, still, but starting to get over that now.

in short, i had a wonderful time in trinidad and cuba. both islands had much to offer in the way of culture and history, albeit quite different considering they are only a few islands apart from each other. trinidad is vibrant with an afro-indian feel to it and the food rocks, especially the cheap street food – roti, doubles – that you can find just about anywhere for about $.50 and are filling, spicy and good. did a couple ecotours with my friendly hostess’ son stephen and learned quite a bit about the variety of flora and fauna on the island. good times. after the chaos of carnival and lessons learned in ecology and botany, respectively, i headed out to havana. in between were a couple uneventful days in cancun. this actually didn’t disgust me too much as i expected cancun to (sorry to those who dig cancun. it’s not my cuppa tea, really, with all the walmarts and mcdonalds and megacorporations flooded in from america) and i enjoyed a rather pleasant stay in a small hotel in the center of town near the bus station. i was really anticipating the trip to cuba, though, so was really biding my time there. arrived in havana and got to my casa particular relatively easily. my host, raul, had been recommended to me by friends who’d gone there years earlier and he did not disappoint in the least. nice, clean, friendly place in stunningly beautiful vedado. did the whole town in 3 days, walked miles and miles through all those streets, snapped all those pictures, ate all those chickens and beans and rice, and sipped down easily all those mojitos. my only regret is that i didn’t have enough time to explore all of cuba. three days was far too short a time, but at least i got a little nugget.
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