Tag Archives: south-east asia

On Books

15 Jun

Back in Udomxay, the construction town in northern Laos where our two-day odyssey from Vietnam reached a natural close, we met a crazy Canadian chap with an Irish accent and a Beer Lao can seemingly stapled twixt thumb and forefinger. Not so much met as, perhaps, attracted.

Charming chap. Pushing 70. Thoroughly pickled 24-7. And found in me, yikes, a kindred spirit.

Having travelled extensively with his own nipper, when the boy (now my age) was eight (roughly junior’s age), he had uncharitable things to say about my backpack. Particularly, the size thereof.

Now, to a degree, I second that emotion. Although, in our defense, I will say that I have only one pack, which goes on my back, rather than the “pregnant” two-pack look (one front, one back) so popular among our Nordic friends. Continue reading

Age-Appropriate Reading (Again)

17 Mar

Z is scrutinising Lonely Planet South-East Asia with an expression I can only describe as panic.

“Mum,” he says. “I really don’t think it’s a good idea to go to Vang Vieng.”

Vang Vieng, Laos, is a destination I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing over, as it happens. On balance, I reckon that an other-worldly landscape, white water tubing and caves will more than compensate for the prevalence of happy pizza joints, Western teenagers revelling in reefer-fuelled freedom from the parental home, and 21-year-old Israelis obliterating the memory of their military service. Plus someone has recommended a good guesthouse that’s out of town.

Furthermore, nine-year-old boys and 18-30s on mushroom shakes have rather more in common than either side might care to think. On balance, folk of an age to have children, nephews, nieces etc. think Z will love the tubing, as do I. Folk closer in age to Z than me think that witnessing such decadent scenes of canage will be traumatic for the pair of us. Continue reading