27 March 2008

Laotian in Motion, Day 9

I'm out of Laos and back in Thailand. One of the things that I have learned again and something I heard a couple of years back is that traveling teaches you to trust people. Of course, being careful is important, always important, but you have to trust people to get on the right bus or get in a taxi. I had a couple of moments of cost-benefit analysis today when I agreed to have someone take me over the border and to the bus station for about $7.50. As these things happen, it worked out quite well. I got my bus ticket and am headed back to Bangkok around 2:30 to arrive there in the middle of the night. The bus ticket was much, much cheaper than I thought it was going to be, leading me to believe that I might be traveling at a slightly lower class than I would like to. Twelve hours is only 12 hours, right?

I also left my suitcase at the station as the person who sold me the ticket promised to watch it. Cost- benefit. I could lose all my cheap clothes and my suitcase, but most likely it will be there when I get back, well-protected.

I think the other thing that I learn as I travel is to worry less and not expect the worst. Some people are out to get you, but most are out to eat dinner and get dinner for their families. If you're kind and careful, things will work out.

My presentations went worse than I thought they should have, but I learned a lot about myself as a presenter and some of the things I need to improve. I didn't really know my audience or my time frame and that made it hard to prepare. I think at least one woman got something out of one of my talks. And I think I might have landed a real lectureship at a real Japanese university starting in the next couple of years. I'm not holding my breath, but I think the network I've built over the last two and half years may finally be paying off.

Internet is much smoother in Thailand. I could talk to Yoko, whom I miss.