Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ask and ye shall receive...

I took Leon for a nice long walk tonight. I had to go to the night market to get a gift for a cousin as well as maybe a t shirt or two for me as I'm teaching more yoga classes so need a few more t shirts.  On the way back home I saw something I've been looking for for a while, a beer lao hoodie.  It's getting colder here and I don't really have cold clothes, not that serious cold clothes are needed but sleeves could be nice. And lord knows I love a comfy hoodie. So I found some tonight. But they wanted 120,000 kip, like $15. Not much, but I didn't have too much money on me. Fact is, I hardly ever carry cash on me. Don't have, don't spend is my motto and it works great till I run out of gas somewhere.  Anyways I ended up getting it down to 100,000 kip but then there left the problem that this left me with 5,000kip for dinner. Not a lot of options so I figured I'd go home and get a little more kip and then eat around my area.  I started to get really hungry and then I saw a friend eating dinner with her friends. She invited me to sit and eat with them. It was like something from the universe giving, how could I resist.  I sat down and food started being poured on my plate. Leon was also given meat and bones, making for two happy beings.  One thing I will say about the Lao people (and most asian for that matter) is that when it comes to having a guest for dinner they will out do themselves to make the guest feel like royalty. They can be exceedingly giving for sure.  I ate a fair share but was getting tired so I said my thanks and goodbyes and headed home.  No sooner did I step in the door then I got a call from a friend inviting me to her friends bassi (lao celebration). I was dead tired but decided to make an appearance for maybe 30 minutes.  No sooner do I get there but freshly cooked pork and buffalo is being thrown down my throat. Never mind the fact that I was already full from the duck at the other friends dinner.  Maybe the universe listend too much, as my belly feels even bigger.  My last post may have  seemed a bit harsh on the Laos people and I hope to try to shine a positive light as well.

So thank you Laos and thank you universe, for listening to my grumbling and poor stomach.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This really sums up Laos to me

“We will have an urgent meeting between the four operators next week to find a solution.”

My phone hasn't worked properly in a week.  I could call people on my network but not others. Turns out there are 4 telecom companies in Laos and my provider pissed the others off so they all cut service to my provider, Beeline/Tigo.  Finally, I switched to a new provider but as no one knew what was really happening I decided to do a little research. I found out the reason and found the above line sort of hysterical and totally Laos. 

Think about it. Ok, you're a major provider and your customers can't use their phones how they want to. They can't contact most people they would like to but everyone else can. You really think they'll wait it out when sim cards and minutes elsewhere are cheaper and work? (well, yeah... it's Laos and so they probably would because common sense hardly comes into play here on any issue, but that's besides the point) Instead of fixing it soon you wait another week. How many people out there think of the word "urgent" and then think "yeah, next week works." Urgent means soon, means get it done now. Of course, except in Lao. Land of the kii kaan (lazy in lao language). 

And they wonder why things just never get done here. But then again, they also just don't care.  Baw pen nyung, man, don't worry about it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

PoTD - My Man Leon

For those following my twitter, you've heard me talk about Leon quite a bit.  But who is this dog I keep referring to? Well, my friend left the country for a month and asked me to house and dog/cat sit for her. Not being the hugest fan of (and highly allergic to) cats I was pretty "meh" about that part but I love dogs so was excited.  Leon was a bit scared of me at first but slowly he grew to like me, then love me. And I grew to love him as well.  A very smart dog who is also beyond adorable, though a bit too playful at times.. Like when I'm in a rush and he wants to play and stay outside so will go run around the neighborhood.  But I know he means well. When I come home he hears my bike and starts banging on the door for me to let him out. As soon as that door is open, his yelping starts and he'll hop up on his two hind legs and give me a hug with the front two. It warms my heart every time I receive a Leon hug.  Some days his mom would take him to a store near where I work and he always comes running over to the door. One of the guys in the shop will say, "Hey isn't that the dog you used to watch" and I'll drop what I'm doing to go see Leon. A week or so ago Leon's moms car had some problems so she went to get help while Leon was with other people in the car. Well Leon, being Leon, hopped out to explore and then got lost. In a frantic state I was called to help look for him and of course I dropped all to go get that mut. After picking up mom, we headed out to where the car was and hoped to find him nearby. Well not even all the way there we found him. As I turned a corner, Leon heard my bike (a very distinct sound and one he knows well) and he popped out. Both relieved to find him and know he wasn't someone's dinner. 

Well, I'm back housesitting for one week, so I got my best friend back and I couldn't be happier.  I love this mut!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ice cream.. is gonna save the day

There is a lyric to a very silly song that I really enjoy that goes, "ice cream is gonna save the day."  and isn't that the truth?

I really wanted ice cream tonight, had a craving. Maybe more for something cold than for something sweet, as it was a hot one today. But I couldn't find anyone to join me. bummer. though timing has a funny way of working itself out. I decided to go out alone and get ice cream, be that odd falang guy by himself in the lao ice cream parlor. As I left my building there was a girl with a slight confused or troubled look on her face going near the, now closed, bank. I figured she just needed cash and called her over to tell her where the next working atm was. Turns out she need US traded for kip and didn't need a lot of kip but only had a $100 bill.  I thought it over and told her I could change for her. I have both denominations and her fees would be so high for the changing she'd need done. they would make a commotion at the changing windows and probably only change the $100 to kip and then make her change it back to get the increments she wanted. It would be more costly and troublesome, and honestly for me, it's not problem.  I invited her up to help her out and could tell she was in a frantic place for sure. She told me about the last 36 hours of bus rides and getting to a vietnamese border but being turned back because of having the wrong visa type. Of having her laos visa stamped out but never actually leaving laos and was worried she wouldn't be able to leave.  I tried to calm her down and tell her of alternate endings to this story. None were bad, just possibly costly.  I gave her some water and listened to her.  Sometimes we just need someone to listen to.  Traveling can be so wonderful and exciting, but we also have these moments of pure, "what the fuck??? what the fucking fuck?  arrgggghhh." Moments of "I hate the xxxx people. they are horrible." Moments of feeling alone and vulnerable and no idea what's going to happen next, even though we planned it all out to a T.  I'm lucky, I've been situated for a bit, but I don't forget what I've been through and how people have helped me, oh how so many people have helped me.

Then I asked her a weird question. "would you like to go somewhere and get something to make you feel better."  yes, i could have worded it a bit different, but I taught two fun yoga classes and had all this playful energy (second class was a second chakra class and my svadhisthana was acting up. she looked a bit confused and I explained that I was going to take her for ice cream if she wanted.  Ice cream is a close friend to chocolate and the world knows while dog is man's best friend, chocolate i woman's.  So we hopped on my bike and got ice cream, my treat. Sure, part may have been because she was a beautiful blonde haired girl. But really, most had to do with helping people in help out. So many people have and continue to do this for me. And after also spending part of the day reading dalai lama quotes, I felt this urge for humans to help humans out. do good for one another and all that jazz.

After ice cream I dropped her off at her guesthouse, gave her my email in case she needed anymore help and then left.  In some ways I wish I had been more mysterious. Dropping in, helping out and then vanishing. But those little details are irrelevant, what matters more to me is the deed itself.  Though in fairness lets not forget that by me helping her, she also helped me. As with her, I didn't have to go to ice cream alone. :)

So yes, ice cream did help save the day for one person.