October 27, 2010 § 1 Comment
Some times I guess things are just not meant to be said. I spent the past 5 days and several thousand kip writing a new post -a post that was helping me deal with everything.
But, something out there doesn’t want me to express myself. I couldn’t even log into my blog yesterday. And when I finally could, I found my draft only half there.
And now, since the first piece of writing 5 days ago, something so much bigger has taken over, and I feel I will never be able to express it -ever. But perhaps I will try.
October 12, 2010 § 1 Comment
Once you leave the toilet room (yes, a room with ONLY a toilet, no paper, no bum gun) you enter the room with the shower and the basin.
Of course, only the most useful items can be found inside:
Who would be so silly to put soap and a towel in a room whose sole purpose is to wash your hands and your body?
I am currently sitting, looking a little forlorn, with a bunch of other Falang in an internet cafe. We are all glued to our screens. Outside, it is is raining. Pakse doesn’t seem to leave any one feeling impressed. All look irritated and on the verge of cursing this town, and its miserable weather.
I have enjoyed my short stay, but don’t feel I could stay any longer…. My favourite experiences have been speaking (the tinnny amount of Lao I know) with the locals, who seem rather perplexed with my pronunciation and simply say: “Vientiane, bo?”
October 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
Impressions of Pakse (down in the south of Lao)….
There seems to be a ridiculous amount of:
Am I in the party capital of the world or what!
October 2, 2010 § Leave a comment
October 2, 2010 § Leave a comment
I want to feed my inner revolutionary.
He/she has been dorment for quite some time, and I demand an awakening! I will feed this being with tales of suffering, so it may rise once again with indignation and demand justice. So it may once again take action. Be a part of something greater.
Together, we will cross the seas to foreign shores, where we will learn a new language and speak with passion. Our heart will beat faster, fuelled by rich red blood, alive with the spirit of change.
We will learn also to be humble, and take solace in the arms of love. Suffering will fuel our compassion. Compassion will fuel our action. Action will fuel change.
Together, my inner revolutionary and I will revolutionise this very being, this flesh, bone and blood.
“We must struggle every day so that this love for humanity become a reality.”
Ernersto Che Guevara
October 1, 2010 § 1 Comment
My hatred of the ‘Recette Principale des Postes,’ (Vientiane Post Office) has been slowly increasing since my first visit 2 months ago, to the point where I now loath and detest receiving parcels from loved ones from abroad. This is clearly a reflection of how awful a place it is, as almost everybody on earth enjoys receiving packages via the post. Especially in this current age of technology in which the most meaningful thing you can receive is a Facebook message or SMS. Snail mail has become both nostalgic and exciting.
I seem to be the only person to have developed these feelings of hatred. Others seem to have positive encounters, telling me the service they receive is efficient and that they experience no obstacles when they do business there.
I am clearly doing something wrong.
The first mistake (and I am aware of this one) is that I always go after 12pm. This is the worst time to do any kind of business in this country. As soon as the day switches to PM, you are hard pressed to find any person eager to serve or assist you. This is because of lunch. Something I only mildly hate. In fact, I don’t hate lunch at all, quite the opposite, I adore lunch (like any good Greek girl should), I simply do not like the effect lunch has on the citizens of Vientiane. So because I too enjoy lunch, my hatred can only be mild.
The effects lunch has on public servants is remarkable. How any work is done afterwards is a miracle. It is as if everybody has a siesta, but because they can’t officially go home and sleep (come on, it’s a Communist country) they simply sleep with their eyes open. The result is a zombie-like person, eyes open, but no brain activity to speak of.
My second mistake (and the only other mistake I am making in my opinion) is that I don’t come armed with tracking numbers from the senders, or exact postal dates, or the exact contents of the parcel. What the post office staff don’t seem to realize is that people like to surprise, especially on the occasion of a birthday. The senders of these parcels don’t call or email me to tell me the exact date they posted the gift, let alone the tracking number and contents. I am simply notified that something is on it’s way.
Last week was my birthday, and I am blessed with wonderful friends and family who sent me numerous gifts in the mail. In normal circumstances, this would have been lovely and wonderful, but because it meant I had to spend my birthday week going in and out of the worst place on earth, I grew resentful of their kindness, and my birthday.
It seems pretty simple superficially. There is no home address post service. (With the exception of bills, which are delivered straight to your door, no escaping the mail you don’t want to receive). For the mail you do want to receive you must open a post box. I don’t personally have a post pox, so I use the box of my friend. Theoretically all you need to do is bring with you the post box ID card, the key and your passport to pick up a parcel with your name on it. Apparently it is not that simple. I haven’t seemed to work out why, it is possible the rules change for each parcel.
To be fair, my first trip was quite a success. After becoming extremely frustrated by the zombies at the front counter, I took things into my own hands and went backstage to find somebody who could answer my fairly simple question: “Is there a parcel for me?” I was greeted by a table of the most helpful Lao men I have ever encountered. This could possibly be related to the fact I may have been showing an unusual amount of cleavage that day. Nevertheless, I was treated extremely well, and somehow acquired my own personal team of parcel finders. On this particular day, there was no parcel for me. My team leader demanded I give him my mobile number, so he may notify me the second it arrived.
True to his word, a day later, I received a call, “Miss Kennelly? Please bring your passport and come to the Post Office.” And that was all, I walked out with a large package from my parents and an even larger smile upon my face.
This was a fairytale ending, and the last time I would ever walk out of the place with a smile.
I think the reason that I have such a ridiculous hatred for the ‘Recette Principale des Postes’ is because it seems to be the only place in Lao that seriously follows rules (whatever they may be). Outside a police officer will ignore a serious traffic offense, or take money to pretend it didn’t happen, but inside the post office, there is no bending of Postal Law.
Every time I enter the post office I feel I should come dressed in amour bearing a sword. Perhaps that would intimidate the zombies at counters 22 and 23.
All I want is to pick up the parcel with my name on it. But there is always a problem. One is the serious look of suspicion when I come with my friends ID card + my own passport. Each time I explain: I use my friends box, this is her ID card and her picture, but the parcel is for me, with my name on it, and this, is my passport, with my picture.
I don’t know what kind of criminal they think I am. Each parcel has the contents written on the outside, and you have to get it checked (searched) before you can take it. So it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the contents. Perhaps it’s simply my face they distrust?
Every time I questioned. And there is literally a good cop bad cop thing going there. The main questions: Is this your passport? Where is the parcel sent from? What date was the parcel sent? How big is the parcel? What address does the parcel have on it? Do you speak Lao? Where do you live? Is this your friend? What is the tracking number of the parcel? How was it sent? Priority?
The good cop bad cop is all in the tone of the questions.
To be honest, I don’t think there are serious Post Office rules, I think the reason it is so difficult to get my parcel is simply because it would involve the zombie getting out of his chair and moving. And that is clearly not possible as he has just eaten lunch.