and because a goodbye post cannot go without a ‘things I’ll miss post’, here’s my list of all this things I’m going to be miss about life in Laos…and all the things I won’t!!
1. Our lovely friends ~ but they shouldn’t count since in this day and age it’s very likely we’ll see each other again soon, if not through facebook and all the other social networks then the old fashioned way of getting on a plane and visiting them wherever they may be;
2. Our awesome Lao cat Meow ~ he is great company and I really miss him so I hope our friends (you know WHO you are!) are taking very good care of him, I expect health updates!
3. The weather ~ I’m already freezing my a** off in NY and it’s only 15°C, I can already see myself begging to be back in Laos come January when the temperature will be in the negatives and you can’t go outside without at least 6 layers on clothes! Ok, maybe the part about when you sweat constantly as soon as you step out of the house I might not miss but that warm sun and great blue skies will be sadly missed!
4. The sunsets ~ they really were something else, especially when you’re sitting outside by the Mekong enjoying a great cocktail and the company of good friends ;)
5. The people ~ Lao people have to be the most wonderful and warm people on earth, at least for me from all the people I have encountered along the way. Although of course it can be a bit exasperating the fact that they don’t know how to say that they don’t know, ie: when you ask for directions!! But they are honest, warm, friendly and love to have fun, what’s not to like??
6. The food!!!!!!! Green papaya salad, green curry, steamed lemongrass fish, laap, pad thai, fresh spring rolls, red curry, STICKY RICE, Luang Prabang sausage and sooooo much more!! And the worst is that there are no Lao restaurants in New York (we’ve looked)! So if anyone finds out that a Lao restaurant has opened in the Big Apple, please please let me know!
7. How cheap everything is, like Lao food and Beerlao, and well, everything when you compare it to New York!
8. Did I mention the weather? Seriously, I did miss the 4 seasons but nothing beats getting to wear summer clothes all year long :D I actually have to go to Brussels to get my winter clothes to NY because I had none with me in Laos!
9. Our house ~ even though I thought it didn’t get enough sunlight inside it was still a great huge house! I really don’t know when next we’ll be so lucky to have something that big…
10. Our maid, our gardener and our security guards ~ they were super nice and always had a smile for us! Our night guard wasn’t always the most reliable but he was the object of great dinner conversations :D but yeah, again, I don’t know when next we’ll be able to afford or enjoy such luxuries… that reminds me, I have to go to the laundromat tomorrow, oh Nuan, how I miss you and our pressed shirts!
11. Our Mitsubishi Pajero ~ it was a gas guzzler and seemed to always be in the garage getting fixed up but man was that car cool, not to mention convenient! From getting stuck in septic tanks to crossing rivers, it was just cool! It also made Phou Khao Khuay and Vang Vieng just that much easier to explore…I doubt we’ll be getting a car in NY any time soon, I guess I just have to rely on my two feet to get me where I’m going (at least, I’ll be doing regular exercise!)
12. You can’t honour your car without honouring your motorcycle, so here it goes…Thank you to my lovely Kolao for all the temperamental spams you had and all the times you didn’t want to start, not to mention the flat tires after our drive way, you made my life a lot easier, I’m gonna miss you!
13. The parties!! Where else can theme parties be as much fun, just the fact that you have to create your own costumes ‘cause you can’t buy any of this stuff of course made it all the more perfect!! The 80s, the 90s, the Disco years, the Heroes and the Villains, the Star Wars, the Crazy Hats, the Crazy Sunglasses, the Dress like a Parisian, the Backpackers… oh how I will miss you all, past, present and future! Keep rocking Laos!
and the things I WON’T miss…
1. Lao driving ~ let’s just say my road rage really did not enjoy spending time in Lao traffic, dodging motorcycles going the wrong way with no lights and sometimes even no brakes, or the fact that Lao people have no idea how a round-about works and that it’s the only place on earth where I have seen traffic cops controlling a round-about during rush hour or how the simple concept of right of priority seems to elude their minds, sorry, I’m rambling, but yeah that’s definitely something I won’t miss! However, I do have to say that I will miss rolling in my temperamental Kolao with no need to wear a jacket ‘cause it’s so hot anyways, with the wind in your face and a beautiful sunset over the Mekong…
2. Creepy crawlers, mosquitoes and snakes! Although geckos will be missed, except the dead ones I would find in my cereal, those were not a nice surprise in the morning!
3. How the borders closed at night so that you had to calculate at what time the last Air Asia or Nokair flight came in! You know, apart from Laos, there are only two other countries that close their borders at night: Cuba and North Korea…Not to mention that unless you had a long term visa you had to use up yet another one of your passport pages just because you decided to go to Bangkok for the weekend. I finished with 8 Lao visas in total which is already too many but I know some people that have a lot, lot more!
4. How every time you went to the store you were never sure the ingredient you were looking for would be there, or how they would replace it with something that you really didn’t need and you wouldn’t see what you wanted again for months! I know that here in NY I actually have too much choice but it’s always nice when you have a specific recipe in your head to actually find all the ingredients you want!
now, what else? I know I’m forgetting something…
Well, in conclusion, the things I’ll miss far outweigh the things I won’t so it’s safe to say I will miss Laos. I hope to find myself there again someday…
And in the meantime, if you’re interested and if this blog has been worthwhile for you to follow or check out once in a while, the adventure keeps on, this time in the concrete jungle, that’s www.intheconcretejungle.tumblr.com to be exact!
Hope to see you there and Laos, I hope to see you soon! It’s been fun ;D