23 March 2008

Laotian in Motion Tour, Day 5

My scooter riding went fabulously, down the Mekong until I turned off onto a road leading through the rice paddies. I stopped to take pictures several times, but I mostly just rode and rode, feeling free of just about everything.

Laos is a good place to vacation if you ever have the yen (and I mean yen in the Kerouac sense here, not money) to come Asia. Vientiane is almost embarrassingly tourist friendly. You need it, you can get it. And there are hippies everywhere. And everything smells like incense. When I first got here, I thought the incense smell was this German guy with dreads that I had just met and who I travelled by tuk-tuk with to the city. Nope. It's everything.

The best thing that happened today was when I went to a cafe and ordered fried rice and chicken and what I was given was not really what I had expected. Well, I took a bite to find that I had been given fish, so I called the waitress over and she, realizing that it was not for me, but the French couple at another table, brought the dish that I had already eaten part of over to their table. The French couple was very caught up in a conversation about their camcorder that they didn't notice that I had eaten part of their dinner and dug in. Not wanting to cause any trouble, I didn't say anything.

The guy who initially got me interested in the organization that I am here with (and is also, incidentally the founder of the group) is dying of cancer. We had the most fabulous conversation in Bangladesh when we were there about faith and traveling and the meaning of life. We had only met a couple of times, but he is probably one of the ten most influential people in my life, right up there with that guy I met a few years ago who was biking across Asia. Bill, when he passes, will be deeply missed, but he can rest in peace knowing that he had given the best to life and touched a great many of people in a great many places.