Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

The Land That Forgets Time

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

PAKSE, LAOS – The official name of this country is the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, or Lao PDR. Everything in Laos happens at an extremely relaxed pace, and it’s been suggested by more than one person that PDR actually stands for Please Don’t Rush. Any time you’re given will usually translate as “eventually”. Forget trying to plan a definite ETA because the departure time will be anything from ten minutes before the stated time to three hours after it. If you’re lucky.

I’ve been in Southeast Asia long enough to know that the best laid plans don’t always (or usually) go the way you’d want. However, even I was getting very frustrated while waiting for a little over an hour just to leave Don Det yesterday, and then having to contend with what looked like a very disorganised assignment of buses once back on the mainland. It seems that despite all my time in this region so far, there’s still a lot I need to learn about expectations and patience.

The annoyance was compounded by my own foolish overindulgence the previous evening after realising that a Khmer family owned one of the restaurants on the northern tip of Don Det. This led to us all conversing and then drinking into hours way too wee. It was a fun evening, but one that I paid for in spades by getting crammed into an already stacked to the ceiling minibus for the trip north. It was a short trip, to be sure, but a far from comfortable one.

I’m still waiting for a decent Internet connection that will be speedy enough to let me upload photos. So far, even going to websites has been an exercise in patience. Fortunately, I can update Facebook and Twitter and this blog by email, which is how I’m posting this now.

Where I’m staying now is just to the west of the Bolaven Plateau, the major coffee-growing region in Laos. Given that I’m a bit of a fan of the bean, I think I’ll have to take a look up there before continuing on.

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Once more into the breach, dear friends…

December 9, 2004 Leave a comment

[This was originally sent as an email to a bunch of friends.]

I arrived in Nong Khai at 9am yesterday, wandered about town in search of somewhere to crash and found myself beside a river. It took a little time for my brain to realise where I was.

So I found a cafe, obtained an excellent coffee, sat down and stared across the Mekong into Laos.

As the Aussies on this mail list can probably appreciate, it’s a strange feeling indeed to be able to stand in one country and look at another.

I’m going over to Laos tomorrow. Weirdly, I feel more nervous about this than I did over leaving my own country.

Bits of my being are trying to catch up with my physical manifestation, I’m feeling quite disoriented right now (nothing to do with the large bottle of Singha I just drank, I can assure you). I’m hoping that the Net connections in Laos are better than my 2 year old travel guide suggests. I’ll be hotfooting it over to Vietnam, probably take me about a week to get there (5 days to get a visa, apparently).

You know… I’m not entirely sure what to say… a lot has happened to me, much of which is hard to put in writing. I came here to change, and I am. I have. It’s so hard to explain. I like to think that on some level everyone has a desire to connect with the world on a higher level, but it’s so rare to make that known to others. I’ve met a few that I know think that way, maybe more that do but haven’t made that known. I don’t know… I’m finding faith in things other than “work hard, save money, buy this, want that”.

:) Maybe some of you are thinking, “Yep, Karsoe’s gone off the deep end.” Truth is, I’m only now starting to truly know things I long suspected for many years. I actually feel like I’m a part of something, though I still don’t know exactly what to call that.

“I know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

Hmmm… maybe I should go, check in again when I’m feeling more complete.

Take care,
Paul C./Karsoe