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.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

PoTD - Little hands cause big pain

Meet Ba Mon. (Ba means auntie or older lady in Lao). Mon is a 65year old lady who was trained in massage many years ago and worked for the Lao Red Cross before getting too tired from all the daily massages and heading out on her own. A sort of rogue masseuse. She'll come to your place, give you an AMAZING massage and charges about $6.25usd an hour. She's a tiny old lady who will cause you SO MUCH PAIN. but in a good way. I'm getting a 2 hour massage every week from her now. And while it hurts sometimes during her work (excruciating pain while she opens up blockages in your sen, or energy lines) it also feels great the next day and after. I am finding myself more open and looser following sessions with her.  I'm flexible because of yoga but I always have tightness. But with her, the tightness is going away. slowly and painfully. It's all worth it, though. It's even funny in some ways. I'll tell her in my broken Lao that "I like you but i also hate you." Today she gave me a tissue and said in Lao "It's ok to cry if you want." And then laughed at me. We have a swell relationship and even though she laughs when she hits those points that send me into immediate convulsions, I laugh as well with her and it makes the experience all the more authentic.  I can get free nice glitzy massages from work, but I prefer to spend time with my Ba Mon. If you come to Lao, I'll get you a taste of her powerful little hands and elbows. :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

PoTD - Bucket Bath

While in Phongali I came across a kid too adorable to not take a picture of. A very simple (and cold) bath. How cute!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Muong Ngoi Fishing Trip

One trip I went out on while in Muong Ngoi was to go on a fishing trip.  We sailed up the river in a small boat and cast out a net to trap fish in. We didn't catch much but the time on the water was so relaxing and peaceful. The sun shining was warm with the water cold and everything had this nice happy feel to it.  We picked some fresh herbs and ferns as well as some fresh veggies, made a fire and cooked up the fish and veggies.  The fishermen brought sticky rice, as it's pretty much a common accompaniment with every lao dish.  The rustic nature of it and the self reliance/suppliance of it all made for a rewarding and enjoyable day.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Muong Ngoi - paradise

I didn't think I'd like Muong Ngoi. It sounded overly tourist like. An ideal haven for people wanting to get away from it. No motorbikes and no electricity except for 3 hours at night when the generators ran.  Just an hour north by boat of Nong Khiaw, one of the most popular tourist places to go to from Luang Prabang. So I had low expectations and planned to stay a night. Well 1 night turned to 3 very easily. It was an amazing place with a lack of annoying backpacker types (save for maybe me).  I had this epiphany when floating down the river to get here about "the beach" and I wrote to my good college friend Dan who turned me onto the book (still owe you the reply dan, i know). The beach deals with backpackers searching for the ideal backpacker place. a place away from the phonies and of finding a utopia of sorts there.  Well when I got to Muong Ngoi I felt in some ways as if i had found it.  The natural still hardly touched surroundings. the lack of electrify and over abundance of hammocks (I spent many hours sitting in one and reading). The local villages known for their opium, hours and hours where you just smoke and smoke and rest and rest (for the record I passed on this, probably a cultural opportunity lost but brain cells kept).  Muong Ngoi was so peaceful and perfect for me that I didn't want to leave. And once I did, getting back to society was challenging in many ways. I plan to go back for a few days before I eventually leave Laos.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A letter to my parents while traveling in remote parts of Laos

I wrote this while traveling in northern Laos while off the beaten path. Away from tourists and westerners for the most part and spending a majority of my time alone in forests or on boats slowly floating by pristine and still untouched nature.

With New Years resolutions starting off (I forgot to make one this year, whoops) it seems somewhat apropos to send this letter off.

Dear mom and dad. I'm on a boat on the Nam Ou river heading from muong khuai to nong khiaw. I've been away from the Internet for a few days and asides from occasional travelers I've been virtually alone with local people. For the first time in quite a while I've been able to reflect and think in differeny ways. Maybe with a travelers mind.
I want you to know that I love you. But I think you know this. 
I realize that I've been a constantly difficult child. Not necessarily a bad one, just difficult. I'm sorry for this, though don't expect this to change anytime soon. Through all the challenges that I've presented you both with you've always shone through as the loving and amazing parents that you are. I've always been very lucky to have been blessed with you as my ma and pa, though I can't say that you've always been blessed with me as a son. Hehehe (I'm sure you'll say otherwise as that is what most good parents would say). 

I love you very much and promise to be home at some point not too far away and to give you a real live honest-to-goodness hug. 

your favorite second born son.