How I Really Feel About Laos

Wednesday, November 18, 11:50 PM
Oudomxay, Laos

This is it. Thailand first did it, then Cambodia did it. Day one in Vientiane did it to me with a cherry on top. Girls. I think that this second time back, I’m really feeling the women. (Not in a pervy way, but in a muse-ical way.)  I’ve always dreamed about loving my way across the planet, and now I’m living it, feeling that love energy. People are amazing, and girls are no exception. I forgot what it was to have real crushes, real attractions to them, and now it’s like I’ve hit puberty again and my mind is in the gutter. It’s funny how this part of your being becomes subdued when you’re bored. Well I hope my fantasies don’t show too much in my eyes. Ahhh, I like the Lao. (This was a personal entry, but what have I got to hide?  Don’t be mad.)

What I’m attracted to is girls in their natural state. I’ve always been put off by make-up, high heels and attitude which suggest “sophistication”. (Wow, just looked-up sophistication as: to become less simple or straightforward through education or experience in the Oxford dictionary, and it’s totally the right word. Wow… that’s too perfect.) I was listening to a Weezer song yesterday during my death ride up to Pakmong with the lyrics “Why are all American girls so tough?” and it made me so happy because in making a blanket generalization that I wouldn’t dare, Weezer did it for me and I can smile. I’ve always lusted way more after the short dirty cute girls in flip-flops and pajamas to the fancy ones, because they’re more real.

Lao people in general, at least the landslide that I’ve met, have noticeably lacked the big Ego that ruins so many people everywhere. Men are more men, being in their own light fairer than their western counterparts, and also grossly oblivious to the superficial gender roles that would prevent them from wearing pink helmets and being good family men. Girls are a whole different animal, more purely amazing than I can describe. They’re gentle. They’re graceful. They’re cute, simple and uncomplicated. (I know that sounds ridiculous, but for real, man, they’re not wearing the Mask!)  They smile and giggle and go all out, not reluctant to laugh and play. They stick together without the typical jealousy that accompanies female relationships, and also take care of their men, including family, friends, acquaintances, and husbands. I am used to some tough women, and I wonder why it is that American girls are so tough?

A similar case could be made for the Lao men. Eliminate the Ego and your new friend will share, extend, engage, care, and be fully present with you. It’s not just for you the Foreigner, it’s the whole circle of humanity around that he will open himself to. Yesterday I was slooowly working my up the road through a village when an man called out of his front porch, inviting me in to have a meal with the family (of whom I could see no less than a dozen through the door behind him.) He was old, grey, with a beautiful twinkle of a boy in his eyes, and surely he didn’t speak a word of English, but I was his kin and I was Welcome to join his family for a bite, and surely a beer. (He was also wearing a cute pink hat.) The culture of sharing beer here is special. It immediately breaks down any barriers and makes you a part of things… the love is not isolated to blood and association. Everyone is equal, or at least is worthy. We’re all sharing one glass, and you better drink up because we’re all in this together!

I’m lucky, once again, to fall into the arms of a really neat Couchsurfer. He’s Mister Kay, a German volunteering in a school, and living with another German girl who’s volunteering in the town’s only Tourist office. (This is NOT a touristy town, of all the big ones in Laos, and it has a bonafide government-sponsored information center, which she works for. In five days here I didn’t see any other tourists!) So Luisa’s naturally and unexpectedly become my host too, and they’re both just very cool, altruistic, and non-Egotistical humans. They fit right-in, as I’ve seen with the Laos around them. They are in it, and fully participating. Wow, it feels like we’re all really Living.

Tomorrow’s gonna rock. I’ve been invited back to the college for a custom-prepared vegetarian lunch, I’ll go hit the hills (on foot) with my qualified tourist guide/housemate, and I’m in Laos! I honestly want to go back to every city I’ve dipped-down in so far here. I’ve left a piece of my heart in all of them. Could she be the one? Laos, how sweet you are.


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