Wade in the water – goldfish shoals, nibbling at my toes


My trip to Laos was brief and, on the whole, brilliant, barring the scam fiasco of the last day in Luang Prabang.

I wish I’d managed to see a little more of the country and spend more time with the locals, but I didn’t quite realise how much time I’d spent in Thailand, not really doing much.  But there you are, you learn and I’ll be planning the rest of the trip a little bit more than just ‘ah I’ll go there next…’

The main impressions that I have of Laos are:

  • mountains, mountains and more mountains.  Covered in forests and jungle, long twisting roads passing through linear villages with small children walking to school, even smaller children playing by the side of the road.
  • the misty vistas that ideas of Asia bring to mind.   Mountains looking like torn tissue paper, fading off into the distance.
  • A father having a waterfight with his son as we drove past, the child giggling in delight.
  • Friendliness of strangers (mostly) offering directions, tips for good food options.
  • Resourcefullness and hard work ethic.  People were selling items made from the shells dropped during the ‘American War‘, flowers and peace signs shaped from the metal and destruction brought by American bombers.  I had no idea that Laos had been affected so badly, I’ll certainly be reading more about it in the coming weeks.
  • Water, water everywhere…

In Luang Prabang the main feature of the surrounding landscape is the Mekong River, winding it’s way past the city, conjoining  with the Nam Khan and in the evening you can sit and watch the sunset over the river.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective


Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective

When I feel like I’ve had a really tough day I have a flick through a photo album on my computer that helps me put things into perspective. One is of me, my friends and family having fun, to remind me that I can have fun. The other, from which this photo is taken, reminds me of things that others have gone through.

This photo was taken at the JEATH Museum in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, which commemorates the live lives lost of those working on the ‘Death Railway’ as forced labour for the Japanese Army during WW2.

I am a wee weaver


What should you do if you are only going to a city for one day and then flying out? I had no idea for Vientiane but my cousin Rebecca gave me a good idea – she’d been and spent the day on a textiles course.  I asked her which one, she couldn’t exactly remember but googled and found Houey Hong Vocational Training Centre for Women.  Perfect.  I emailed, booked myself in for a day’s visit and off I went.

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Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch…


One of the things I discussed with my counsellor was that I’m too trusting.  I like to see the good in people and I don’t always notice when they are trying to screw me over. 

Well today I very nearly got caught in a scam thanks to my trusting nature. Now I know what you’re going to say, that I’m travelling alone and should be a bit more wary, but once I was in the following situation I did click on to what was going on. I do feel a bit stupid, but don’t worry, I’ll not be falling for this sort of thing again.

Scams are rife in this area of the world unfortunately and I’ve made sure that I’ve read through the common ones in the guide book.  Don’t fall for cheap overnight bus trips, they will steal your stuff.  Don’t agree to hire a driver for a cheap amount for a ‘personal tour’ as you’ll get harangued into buying jems and silver that you don’t want. 

What I didn’t expect was to almost be caught up in a gambling scam.

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Response: A Teacher’s Tale


I just read this on my friend’s facebook status and decided that from the other side of the world I should write about it.  As usual, this will be a stream of consciousness so hopefully will make sense! 

 

“So… Some of you will be aware that, between Acting jobs, I work as a Supply Teacher. This past week I’ve been back at a school I regularly work in – no names – teaching a variety of subjects. Wednesday it was PE. Now, PE is a strange one to cover because the kids are not used to me being in anything but a suit and tie however, at least when I teach PE they get to have a practical lesson rather than just sit in a classroom.

“Lesson 3 was a Yr11 (5th year in old money!) lesson in which a number of boys were playing football. Still more boys had “not got kit” (for which they were not reprimanded at all!) but spent the lesson leaning against a wall. At one point, noticing movement out of the corner of my eye, I turned to see the non-participants clustered over at the fence (a tall steel affair with a spiked top – to keep the paedos out! …or, in truth, to keep the kids IN!) One of the boys – a ruddy-cheeked, pretty-boy – had climbed up the fence and as I watched, hawked a great mouthful of phlegm which he then spat at a woman walking past!

“As you can imagine, she was disgusted – as was I! I ushered the boys away from the fence and apologized profusely to the woman – who spoke no English – while the boys jeered and made racist remarks! On taking them “in” I spoke to the Head of PE who had me point out the spitter, who – to my face – refuted the accusation with “He’s a fucking liar, Sir!”
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