Archive for the ‘Making lemonade out of lemons’ Category

This trip is truly a discovery/rediscovery of myself and the world around me.  Many of you don’t know that Livia and I broke up a few weeks before my trip.  It was somewhat unexpected, but really the right thing for both of us.  I still planned on moving to New York, and in some ways it created a blank slate of new opportunities.  The road ahead in a new city was just for my own making.  Now, I could spend this trip for me, and not missing someone back home.  But those can be just words of consolation, as I try to see the positive side of life – always making lemonade out of lemons.  I have truly enjoyed this trip, but in quiet moments, I am sometimes rehashing my past relationships, my role, what I will do differently next time, what do I really want – standard break up fare. 

So it was a big surprise when I developed a crush on a 22-year old Laotian young man a few days ago!  He was our guide for a walking tour of Khmu ethnic minority villages in Nong Khiaw, Laos. We had wonderful conversations about everything, and we both revealed ourselves to each other.  On the boat ride home, I realized I had developed a small crush on him that made me smile.  I smiled because it felt good to know there are many people in this world I can develop a connection with – over the span of just a few hours.  Now if I can just find a more age-appropriate woman 🙂

I really loved my time in Nong Khiaw, another sleepy town nestled in the hills and on a river.  I spent two night there, the first night in the fanciest bungalow in town for the high price of $40 (and it doesn’t even have a flush toilet – just a bowl, no infrastructure for plumbing).  The next night I downgraded to a rustic bungalow for $6 (squat toilet and I was a bit fearful of bed bugs).  Both bungalows had stellar views of the river.  Both nights I also had the most amazing steam baths.  There is a small wooden 5′ x 8′ shack.  It take one hour to prepare the steam for you, individually creating a fire with aromatic herbs and wood, and the steam flows up through a small hole in the floor of the house.  It’s not too hot, so you can steam for about an hour.  Afterwards, they serve you delightful lemongrass tea in the cool evening air.  The total experience costs less than $2 and I slept like a baby.

I’ve returned to Luang Prubang and had a wonderful Christmas.  In the morning market, they sell little sparrows in bamboo cages and locals buy them to release and make a wish.  On Christmas morning, I bought two birds and made wishes for my future.  Seemed like a great gift to myself.  Spent Christmas day at the Tad Kuang Si waterfalls.  The owners of the guest house invited me to their Christmas dinner and we feasted for many hours.  Today, I will go on a bike ride and wind down with a massage.  Tomorrow, I fly to Hanoi for my final scheduled four weeks in Vietnam.  I am thinking of extending my stay though – maybe a few months in Thailand, Nepal and India, who knows? And that is the amazing thing about life.  One door closes, and smacks wide open a whole new world of possibilities. 

Attached are photos on an elephant trek (they usually only put max two people on the seat, and at first they placed me on the elephant’s neck, terrifying as we moved an I imagined myself coming all the way to SE Asia just to die from a fall from an elephant?!? So we crammed into the seat), my gleeful self with my 3-inch catch from net fishing in Nong Khiaw, and the view at twilight in Nong Khiaw.

Net fishing in Nong Khiaw, Laos.  I caught this three-inch fish and couldn’t be happier with a 25 pound salmon!

Twilight at Nong Khiaw, Laos.

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