Thursday, June 2, 2011

If an entry is titled ‘I’m just faking it,’ will anyone respond with the sophomoric ‘That’s what she said’?

“An American? Like, so, um, am I, like, speaking your language or whatever?”

-This quote came from an Aussie traveler of all people, a country who, by her own admission, has yet to produce a great, internationally renowned mind yet has managed, as noted in retort, to have stolen all recent leading male movie roles.

If an entry is titled ‘I’m just faking it,’ will anyone respond with the sophomoric ‘That’s what she said'?

Having entered Laos knowing little about the country I anticipated a swift exit, a stay not more than a couple weeks. After the hustle-bustle-keep-your-hands-inside-the-tilt-o-whirl-at-all-times of Vietnam languid Laos inspired, the locals less loco, the travelers more traveled. You know, maybe it‘s okay to stop and enjoy the wind through the little hair left on your head as the sun lowers over and eventually melds into the Mekong River after swinging in a hammock all day. Just make sure you take some pictures, dammit.

After thirty days a visa extension was considered until that Caucasoid psychosis reared its haughty head, its tongue slithering to and fro and up my nose cooing in one ear and then the other that ‘the great affair is to move, to see, to do; the Almighty doesn’t reward loiterers.’

Why then do the Laos people seem so content?

It must be faux serenity. Without wealth accumulation, without sufficiently distinguishing oneself among one’s peers in beauty and title, one can only pretend for happiness. If you don’t have prestige and a new cell phone and the woman that dates men with prestige and a new cell phone then there’s no hope for you, none at all, and you might as well be Laos.

With Bin Laden’s termination resulting in the collapsed demise of Islamic extremism the world over a visit to a Muslim nation is in order. Heading to Malaysia via Thailand, I come representing the U.S.A. conquistadors, the saviors of the Arab world, we saved Islam from itself there and if you’re lucky we’ll do the same for you here. Got any oil?

That ridiculous liberal jab, it wasn’t me or even the Caucasoid psychosis, but the last traces of the artificial Laos ‘live and let be’ philosophy leaving the core, the Laos way of life unconcerned with the strife of other nations, that’s disinterest is so complete ignorance rules the day. North African turmoil, it’s dukkha, it’s terrestrial, impermanent, it doesn’t matter. It’s just another distraction from The Eight-Fold Path, just another bungee cord keeping one earthbound. The silly simple Buddhists, they’ll never be revered or feared and, even worse, they don’t thirst to be.

With a fifteen-day visa-free stay from a Thailand land border crossing I give myself four days at each of Thailand’s most Caucasoid-spoiled gulf isles, Ko Tao, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Samui. Upon reentering Thailand everything becomes too easy, too pleasant, the overnight train going from Nong Khai to Bangkok is so relaxing I actually sleep, the train to Chumphon leaves within hours of my arrival in the capital, before I can finish a plate of fried rice in Chumphon I’m whisked away onto a overnight ferry to Ko Tao. Quick, easy and inexpensive, surely I’ve traveled shrewdly having not crossed more than a couple Caucasoids during the thirty-six hours it takes to get from the Laos-Thai border to a Thai tropical paradise, a place where I can take leg-numbing time on the toilet whilst taking in the turquoise-ribboned sea from an island bungalow.

Reaching the third island in the chain, Ko Samui, I realize I only look like a vagabond, that I’m just a wannabe drifter. After sleeping in A-frame mozzie-asylums in Ko Tao and Ko Pha-Ngan I’m forced to pay more on Ko Samui’s chic Chaweng beach. And gag, barf, swallow, gag and barf again, the luxury excites me. The fan works, the toilet flushes, there’s even a mirror in the bathroom.

Yep. I definitely look like a vagabond.

Keep drifting. (Even if I’m just faking it.)

Entrance to the Konglor Cave, Laos

Congratulations. You've made it 20 meters into Konglor. Only 7,480 to go.

Another cave (of sorts); at the Xieng Khuan Sculpture Park outside Vientiane, Laos.

That's one big lying-down Buddha; the pose at his death.

This is making me uncomfortable.

Back in Thailand and suddenly there are three wats per block, Nong Khai Thailand.

At the Sala Kaew Ku Sculpture Park in Nong Khai Thailand, created by the same exiled Laos sculptor of Xieng Khuan.

That's one big Big Buddha (disciple).

Ko Tao, Thailand, looking towards Ko Pha Ngan

Ko Tao sunset

Cruising around Ko Pha-Ngan on motorbike and I couldn’t pass up this silhouette.

A Ko Pha Ngan sunset

Ko Pha Ngan, looking towards a protected marine park (which in Thailand only means you have to pay people under the table to visit and construct a resort). 

Another Ko Pha Ngan sunset. Enough already.

Same horizon ten minutes later; every worry I've ever carried sat with the sun.

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