Daily Archives: 2010-01-17

Creature Parade – Vang Vieng, Laos

It has happened a handful of times now and seems to be coming more frequent as the day goes on. It reminds me of scenes from the Matrix where in mid-fight scene, everything will slow down to a snails pace just for a few seconds. The effect is that everything is near frozen creating an intense sensory experience. I am not sure what it is that is creating this bizarre phenomenon that has me caught in the moment. I swear I haven’t been partaking in the local drink or any other substances for that matter. Infact, I have been eating relatively clean since discovering Laap, traditional Laos food.

Laap is a savory mixture of herbs, spices and mint leaves mixed with your choice of protein (fish for me but I have tasted it done successfully with tofu). There appears to be no added fat or oil so the dish is extremely healthy and surprisingly light. It is usually served with sticky rice but I prefer steamed and brown if possible. Matched with the long green beans and cucumber and you have yourself quite a meal. After eating it I find I have tremendous energy and feel light yet pleasantly full. Needless to say, it is my new favorite food and I shall be eating it every day so long as I can find it.

It is almost as if for a few brief moments gravity and time are warped. I find myself moving a whole lot slower and a sensation of warm happiness saturates me from the inside out. It’s very cool indeed. After the initial shock and worry that perhaps there may be something seriously wrong with me, I have begun just observing it. So far there are no consistent similarities between the occurrences so I have wonder what brings it on….

Nevermind. I am just going to enjoy it rather than analyze it to death. I will chalk it up to this heavenly environment that I find myself. I am currently laying in my hammock watching the kids splashing about in the river. Their laughing is accompanied by the clang of the cowbells. Twice a day, a herd of about forty of the healthiest looking (read: not fat nor skinny) cows I have ever seen, wander past my bungalow along the riverside. Many of them adorable tan color little calves tails swishing away contentedly. Sometimes some lost straggler will come barreling past to catch up with the others. The loud chime around its neck ding a ling a linging away frantically. Now that’s what I call more cowbell!

Yesterday I was walking down the river and got caught in the middle them so reached my hand out to pet one of the babies. There was no fear or trepidation from the creature, just a curious look right into my eyes. I understand that not only the cats and dogs are happier here but so are the cows and chickens. The animals I have seen so far in Laos seem to be more “natural.”

Today, I fed Black Cat some coconut milk which she lapped up greedily. Together we cuddled in my hammock watching the butterflies land from flower to flower. I have been watching the army of ants parade up and down the big tree beside my balcony for hours. Its amazing how polite and organized they are in efforts to complete their operation, whatever that may be today. I still can’t figure out what they are doing. It’s quite the mission, that’s for sure.

I haven’t tried the tubing or any of the adventure activities yet. I am supposing I may be too old for the tubing (bum immersed in cold water for three hours) but that maybe could get away with kayaking down the river. The bobbing around in the authentic tractor inner tube or paddling the more sophisticated kayak? Revisit my indulgent youth or celebrate my maturity gracefully? A growing awareness of my impending birthday doesn’t help the decision making process, that’s for sure.

Grateful for simplicity.


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