Saturday, December 6, 2008


We go on and on in these posts about what “we” do, mainly as a family. Sometimes we ramble about our thoughts on an occurrence or how a place makes us feel. But what usually comes out is what we, that is Siena, lisa, Avocet and I do while we are out exploring this great big world. What we don't usually express are our thoughts about the people we meet and talk to. These talks can be in our hotel lobby, in a restaurant, at the Internet cafe, on a tour, or just walking down the sidewalk. They last from twenty minutes to several hours. Today we had a twenty minute discussion with a gentleman that started while we were getting Kip (Lao $$$) out of an ATM machine. So the following are the stories of our “friends” we met this week in Luang Prabang (LP):

We met a globe trotting family (Mom, Dad and two teenage boys) from Toronto at our original guest house. They described what they have done so far as they circumnavigated the globe west beginning in New Zealand to now SE Asia. We had dinner with them on the shores of the Mekong and enjoyed hearing how another family handles travel and their differences as well as similarities to the way we “work” our travel year. Good luck Teamspiers!!

Gavon and Emma from Britain. Lovely couple we spoke to for an hour or so in an Internet access place. They gave us the perspective of two twenty somethings who get tired of hanging with the drunken early twenties crowd. They planned to be on the road for eleven months and had taken the Trans-Siberian Railroad from Moscow through Siberia to Ulaan Bataar, the capital of Mongolia ( TOO COOL!!!). Also their perspective on quitting their jobs and just traveling was refreshing. We commiserated on the use of fluorescent tubes here in Laos (gives that ugly cold look to a room).

JenEric and Corey from Delft in Holland. We shared a “longboat” for three hours to and from the Pac Ou Caves. JenEric was Dutch but went to school a hundred miles west of Chicago in the 60s. He talked about his mid-twenties daughters who have the travel bug. They were very easy to talk to and talked about their native Holland. They inquired about our feelings of Holland and were somewhat surprised at how much we liked their country.

Doug was from Canada. He started a conversation with us as we were petting the neighboring guest houses' “twin” dogs. He regaled us in a short time with stories of his pet crow and how it showed up by calling it when he was hundreds of miles away. He was a true storyteller. He had been traveling almost full-time for awhile now and loved Luang Prabang. Twenty minutes of funny stories.

Richard was our ATM contact. He is 60, six feet six inches tall from Oregon-Washngton-Alaska, and retired for twelve years. He gave up the full time career to teach English in Guatemala for four years. When he gets tired of doing something he moves on. He now lives in LP but I could tell that it was getting too “Western” for him. He described a seaside village in Vietnam where doing things around the water was BIG and the “DisneyWorldization” had not yet occurred. He was a good person to share with about future careers.

“Miss Arizona” or Katie. Cute, young and very communicative. We talked to her at the L'Etranger Books and Tea book store. She recognized us as Americans and communicated as American to American in a place thousands of miles away. She couldn't get back to Bangkok because of the airports being taken over by the PAD opposition party. We saw her over and over on the streets of LP. She might have gotten annoyed with us calling her “Miss Arizona”. Sorry. A very nice person.

Katie's friend Carrie was on her umpteenth trip to SE Asia and LP. She was an executive director of a NGO stationed in the States that required several trips per year to this area of the world. She brought Katie (above) with her on this trip. She now consults with the same NGO without all the pressures. Her stories on how LP has changed over the last ten years were sad as it has become a “Western magnet” and new guest houses pop up weekly. I hope you made it back to Arizona!!

Eric and Emily from Colorado were a young couple we also met at the bookstore one night. They were traveling for about nine weeks which is EXTREMELY long for Americans. They will worry about their careers when they get back. Eric and I shared some thoughts on how we missed Autumn back in the States. Av, Si and lisa held court with Emily and she was very attentive to the girls. They were a very nice couple.

Margo. We met Margo as we were giving alms to the monks. She was very open and talked about her life on the border of Tibetan China. She is Australian and married to a Tibetan. We have seen her repeatedly. She is a real traveler and gave us advice by telling us her stories. She took pictures of us giving alms with her quality camera and we hope will get these in “My Pics” instead of the bad ones we have. Again, a very open and nice person. Travellers are nice people .

Martin and Dale from Great Britain. Met them today in our guest house lobby. This was an adult only conversation as Av and Si were playing hangman and tic-tac-toe with Wang and losing horribly. Martin and I talked about sports, the places they had traveled to and their feelings of different places. He warned us about which section to sit in when we watch the Boca Juniors soccer (football) matches in Buenos Aires!!

And finally three guys who now live in Boston, one who works for Fidelity Investments and grew up in Cincinnati (Wyoming High School) of all places!!!! They are winding their way thru SE Asia, buying clothes, and talking to knuckleheads ilke us in Internet Cafes.

Tomorrow we might talk to a person from Argentina, Albany or Albania. Travellers open up to each other and know that joy is not always in what you see while you are on the road but with whom you share it.

1 comment:

jenscan said...

Hi Siena, Avocet, lisa, and Marty! Just heard from Siena on my blog, so I checked out your latest. I just had to write to let you know that I am happy to be one of those people you met during your travels! I really enjoyed hanging with you guys in Tanzania! Siena, I am back in San Francisco now, but will be heading back to Africa (Kenya, then Tanzania) on January 6. I've been back here for about a month or so, and I already miss Tanzania. As you can see, I have taken a blogging break while I am here, but will pick it back up in January. I think about u all, wondering where in the world u are now. . .and btw, Marty, Happy Birthday!! (And happy birthday to Siena and Avocet a few weeks back--my half birthday--remember?!). Safari njema (happy travels in swahili). Jenny