June 1. Stay another day…

On our extra day we visit Peuan Mit again, have a nice cup of coffee there and I donate what is left in kip to their program. That is a no-brainer for travelers, of course. Whatever you have left IS part of your budget so don’t come with “I don’t have money” it won’t work not with me.

We also stop by at bigbrothermouse (remember, that project with the a-hole in Luang Prabang), a beautiful initiative  carried out by a harsh antisocial expat living in Luang Prabang by the name of Sascha Alyson. I visited him at his office there and instead of a warm welcome (I wanted to donate 250$ to his project) he told me I could look at the website. Later, more people confirmed that this man behaved oddly, and I was relieved. At least it wasn’t me. But having experienced it perfide owner, I wasn’t going to avoid his interesting initiative, increasing literacy in rural Laos by installing libaries in village schools. I went in and put our suggestion in the suggestion box. “Work together with 1kgmore”. Would Sascha Alyson be thankful? A propos, you can visit their website http://www.bigbrothermouse.com, it really IS a great initiative!

At five pm there’s a bus to Hue in Vietnam. We would love to visit Savannaketh on the way, but time decides against it. A thoughtful end to this post, combining literate trash and philosophical sprinkle: It’s us who decide against it not Chronos, it’s priority not the pendulum.

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June 1. Stay another day…

On our extra day we visit Peuan Mit again, have a nice cup of coffee there and I donate what is left in kip to their program. That is a no-brainer for travelers, of course. Whatever you have left IS part of your budget so don’t come with “I don’t have money” it won’t work not with me.

We also stop by at bigbrothermouse (remember, that project with the a-hole in Luang Prabang), a beautiful initiative  carried out by a harsh antisocial expat living in Luang Prabang by the name of Sascha Alyson. I visited him at his office there and instead of a warm welcome (I wanted to donate 250$ to his project) he told me I could look at the website. Later, more people confirmed that this man behaved oddly, and I was relieved. At least it wasn’t me. But having experienced it perfide owner, I wasn’t going to avoid his interesting initiative, increasing literacy in rural Laos by installing libaries in village schools. I went in and put our suggestion in the suggestion box. “Work together with 1kgmore”. Would Sascha Alyson be thankful? A propos, you can visit their website http://www.bigbrothermouse.com, it really IS a great initiative!

At five pm there’s a bus to Hue in Vietnam. We would love to visit Savannaketh on the way, but time decides against it. A thoughtful end to this post, combining literate trash and philosophical sprinkle: It’s us who decide against it not Chronos, it’s priority not the pendulum.

May 31. Worst War crimes ever?

Cornflakes and coffee, and it’s already ten. Lazy bastards, you think. Where’s the early morning gymnastics, the 2-mile-walk, the 150 pushups and the rigor-vigor?

Anyway, we visit COPE today and have a good look at the museum that displays handmade prostheses, we are talking about wooden leg, cast iron pparts nailed together with rusty nails, old bottles turned into a cast and wooden sticks. There was a man who used his homemade leg for thirty years before he received a real fitting prosthesis from COPE. They have a huge mirror with a leg in front of it where you can lean on with your knee, looking at yourself as a cripple. This makes us realize the dramatic changes in self-perception (and self-confidence) people have when the lose a leg overnight. Also on display are ‘bombies’, the contents of a clusterbomb that disperse over a huge area. And the big fife hundred pounders. More than 500,000 missions were flown during those eight miserable years of warcrime. It still outrages me, I mean the US should pay 100,000,000,000,000 to Laos for a start and then apologize every single minute for what they have done. Unlike in Vietnam, fighter pilots could just dispose their load at wish and did so to get rid of the frustrating restrictions in Vietnam. They bombed everything that moved. And now, thirty years later, millions of deadly bombies are scattered along the Ho Chi Minh trail and in other large areas of the country. Some areas are so saturated that in every village you find someone missing a leg – or a close relative. We also watch a video about clearing the UXO’s, starring a former Australian soldier who teaches a team of locals how to deal with the rusty old bombs.

Their donating concept is brilliant: you can donate a leg for 50 dollars. It cost 50 dollars to produce a leg prosthesis. We donate four legs and a “brick in the wall”, another great fundraising technique. They have a wall with virtual (plastic) bricks with the logos of sponsors on them. We have learned a lot and are happy when we return to the city.

We have to return the motorbike, and we bring our luggag to the center. We have to move on once again, and so we buy a bus ticket to Vietnam, but then I realize my visa is only valid from June 2nd, so we change the date. We have to stay another day, and we follow the book. There is a guidebook “stay another day” an every visitor to Laos should use it!

May 31. Worst War crimes ever?

Cornflakes and coffee, and it’s already ten. Lazy bastards, you think. Where’s the early morning gymnastics, the 2-mile-walk, the 150 pushups and the rigor-vigor?

Anyway, we visit COPE today and have a good look at the museum that displays handmade prostheses, we are talking about wooden leg, cast iron pparts nailed together with rusty nails, old bottles turned into a cast and wooden sticks. There was a man who used his homemade leg for thirty years before he received a real fitting prosthesis from COPE. They have a huge mirror with a leg in front of it where you can lean on with your knee, looking at yourself as a cripple. This makes us realize the dramatic changes in self-perception (and self-confidence) people have when the lose a leg overnight. Also on display are ‘bombies’, the contents of a clusterbomb that disperse over a huge area. And the big fife hundred pounders. More than 500,000 missions were flown during those eight miserable years of warcrime. It still outrages me, I mean the US should pay 100,000,000,000,000 to Laos for a start and then apologize every single minute for what they have done. Unlike in Vietnam, fighter pilots could just dispose their load at wish and did so to get rid of the frustrating restrictions in Vietnam. They bombed everything that moved. And now, thirty years later, millions of deadly bombies are scattered along the Ho Chi Minh trail and in other large areas of the country. Some areas are so saturated that in every village you find someone missing a leg – or a close relative. We also watch a video about clearing the UXO’s, starring a former Australian soldier who teaches a team of locals how to deal with the rusty old bombs.

Their donating concept is brilliant: you can donate a leg for 50 dollars. It cost 50 dollars to produce a leg prosthesis. We donate four legs and a “brick in the wall”, another great fundraising technique. They have a wall with virtual (plastic) bricks with the logos of sponsors on them. We have learned a lot and are happy when we return to the city.

We have to return the motorbike, and we bring our luggag to the center. We have to move on once again, and so we buy a bus ticket to Vietnam, but then I realize my visa is only valid from June 2nd, so we change the date. We have to stay another day, and we follow the book. There is a guidebook “stay another day” an every visitor to Laos should use it!

May 30. Volleyball in rural Laos.

It is so nice to have 100cc of boiling hot metal shafts between my legs, that I decide to rent a motorbike in the afternoon and tour around Vientiane. We take the main highway north (direction Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang) with the option of taking a dirttrack to a beautiful waterfall. An option that we miss, since we take another sideroad and reach some villages where they are not accustomed to foreigners visiting. We decide to stop at some point and play volleyball with a group of youth. We are all laughing, having a great time.

At 8pm we meet Ly and a couple from New Zealand at the central fountain, the most obvious meetingplace in town. Chris and Marieke have interesting travel stories to share, and are very interested in our concepts and the tips we could give about volunteering and money-making your way around Europe and Korea. They return the favor by pointing out some terrific places on NZ north island. All this is done against the backdrop of the wooden patio of our restaurant, and we are immersed in the fresh air and mellow silence of backstreet Vientiane. It is a memorable evening – this is what memories are made of.
We zoom back to Ly’s place on our hired motorbike and sleep well.

May 30. Volleyball in rural Laos.

It is so nice to have 100cc of boiling hot metal shafts between my legs, that I decide to rent a motorbike in the afternoon and tour around Vientiane. We take the main highway north (direction Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang) with the option of taking a dirttrack to a beautiful waterfall. An option that we miss, since we take another sideroad and reach some villages where they are not accustomed to foreigners visiting. We decide to stop at some point and play volleyball with a group of youth. We are all laughing, having a great time.

At 8pm we meet Ly and a couple from New Zealand at the central fountain, the most obvious meetingplace in town. Chris and Marieke have interesting travel stories to share, and are very interested in our concepts and the tips we could give about volunteering and money-making your way around Europe and Korea. They return the favor by pointing out some terrific places on NZ north island. All this is done against the backdrop of the wooden patio of our restaurant, and we are immersed in the fresh air and mellow silence of backstreet Vientiane. It is a memorable evening – this is what memories are made of.
We zoom back to Ly’s place on our hired motorbike and sleep well.

May 29. Borrowing vintage bike.

Shaun, a friendly Australian guy living here offers us his little vintage motorbike in the morning, and we gladly accept that enhancement of our mobility.

We will be taking that green bike to the friendship bridge and back today. Not that there’s much to see – the friendship bridge is essentialy a concrete corridor secured by grim fences – but the ride was nice. It is also a tribute to Dennis Hopper. I read today that he died and recall the easy rider sentiment, even though I’ve never known it myself. On the way back from the friendship bridge we take a different route and almost get lost in the outskirts of Vientiane, until we decide to follow the flow of traffic and are finally able to identify some buildings. Blabla. It was a nice ride. The color of the bike was green, and also white.