Saturday, April 14, 2007

Day Eight (Saturday, April 14th)

Perhaps you are wondering why and how I have the time to write on this blog while I am on vacation. Well, right now Teri and I are hiding out in an internet cafe because we just can't deal with being outside anymore.

Let me explain. This week is the Lao New Year. I'm not sure the reason, but part of the tradition is for people to soak each other in the streets. I am not talking about little sprays or anything like that. It's perfectly OK for a perfect stranger to come up to someone and just drop a bucket of water all over you. Good thing the water is warm. At first it is fun, and gives me another chance to be smug because I am wearing my quick dry outfit and Teri is not. In fact, she is wearing white short shorts which once soaked, proves to be a problem. We won't be visiting the temples today!

But, after a while, it gets a little annoying. And now they are also spraying talcum powder. I especially don't like tourist on tourist dousing. I am very curious about the reason for all this ritual but at this point, do not want to be a part of it.

We decide to get massages. Which are available on every street block for very little money. It is amazing. Amazing. I am so happy. So so happy. Except for Gwen Stefani blasting in the street. I am going to get one every day. Heck, I might even get another one later tonight.

Then we have a little lunch.

And run out of all currency. Those damn cash only Visas we had to get to enter the country really foiled my plan to be prepared for everything because really have no money and because of the New Year, obtaining any cash proves difficult. Plus, the last thing we want to do is wander the streets looking.

We find a place with a TWENTY PERCENT mark up but we are in need of cash, quiet and internet, all of which are provided in this place where I am now. Note to self: Pay back lunch place. Don't want to get blacklisted at shops around here. I need my massages.

We walk back to our hotel. Someone calls out to us "Hey Miss America." I've been Teri's sister long enough to know they're calling to her.

We decide we need quiet and go to Joma which is the closest thing this town has to a Starbucks. Unfortunately the only seats remaining are underneath an air conditioner which is cold and noisy. So we head outside, where is it hot and noisy. We both read for a bit.

Admittedly, I have not been much of a night owl on this trip. Traveling wears me out and sometimes the night scene doesn't really seem particularly authentic to the locale. But, tonight I promise Teri I'll put on one of her pretty dresses and go out. We head to restaurant and ten minutes into our meal the power goes out in the whole entire town.

I was in NYC for the blackout of August 14th, 2003 and now I'm here for this. Well, I guess we won't be paying for dinner with a credit card. We eat by candlelight. So romantic, Teri and Jamie.

So, what can we do with no power? Teri suggests a foot massage. They last 60 minutes. I can't imagine what you could possibly do to feet for an hour but whatever, the power is out. I sit down and the massage guys starts to touch my foot. I start laughing hysterically. This is going to be a very long 60 minutes. Eventually I'm able to supress my giggles and enjoy it.

During the foot massage the power goes back on so we head to a wine bar. The wine bar is closing but some random guy named Pat is able to keep it open a little longer because he really wants to buy Teri a glass of wine. And I'm the sister so I'll get one as well but Teri definitely bated this one. He's very drunk, keeps on looking at himself in the mirror but believe it or not, he knows a lot about architecture so Teri carries on the best conversation she can with a drunk guy.

We also meet two Belgian tourists. I love my sister, I really do, but I have to admit, it's nice to talk to someone else besides her. Even if he is drunk and self-absorbed.

Pat says goodbye to the Belgian tourists by picking them up a spinning them around. I swear if this guy attempts anything more than "Nice to meet you" I'm running out.

We head back to the hotel. When we walk into the room we wonder if we are alone. I haven't told you yet about the itsy bitsy spider that's been lurking in our bathroom. This hairy thing is neithy itsy or bitsy and I've taken to using the guest toilet in the lobby instead of heading in there.

Teri successfully manages to scare the crap out of me twice by brushing my leg and making me think it's the spider. We decide that we will use our mosquito nets tonight.

It's been a fun long day and we fall asleep quickly.

I did wake up in the middle of the night needing to um, go. I am feeling wimpy as ever and run into the lobby and use the toilet there. Teri is woken up by this and is very grumpy that I left the door open when I ran to the lobby. I was leaving the door open for the spider to leave, not return.

For more pictures of the day, which mostly include drenched Lao folks and tourists, see below. Click on the picture of Teri looking unhappy to see the whole album.

Day Eight (4.14.07)