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Laos Travel Report

Date: Sun, 29 Sep 1996 02:48:39 GMT

[The following is a true account of my trip to Laos.
Note: $1 = ~25 Baht]

My carrier is Lao Aviation and our inflight meal for the hour trip from
Bangkok to Vientiane consists of a cold hot dog with ketchup, donut,
green cupcake, and miniature banana.  I enjoy this with a small glass of
Beerlao.  The food, however, only partially fortells the scene I arrive
to in Laos.  I was expecting a spartan terminal, befitting a very poor
country, but not quite as decrepit and poorly lit, with rusted signs and
an obstacle course of mud puddles from the recent rain.  More importantly,
the single money exchange booth at the airport is closed, requiring that
I deal entirely in the readily accepted Thai baht my first day in Laos.

I arrive late in the afternoon and take a 200 baht taxi ride into town
to the Lao Chaleune Hotel (aka the Inter-Hotel) which sits on a quiet
corner only about a hundred feet from the banks of the Mekong River.  I
check into a 350 a night room with two beds, aircon, refrigerator with
bottled water, and hot shower.  I spend the early evening exploring the
neighborhood, my umbrella only providing partial protection from the
light but steady rain.  In the dark I must pay as much attention to my
next step as the sights around me, for paved streets appear to be a
recent innovation in the capital of Laos, the sidewalk an invention
largely unheard of.  After dodging mud puddles and receiving a gradual
soaking for some two hours, I end up in a small tavern, order a large
bottle of Beerlao, and watch the fuzzy reception of a Malaysia Indonesia
soccer game on the TV.

A thousand kip (a little over a dollar) tuk-tuk ride back to my hotel, a
quick shower and change of clothes, and I'm ready to check out the
downstairs nightclub.  The band plays very loud, mostly Lao pop music
as near as I can tell.  I'm offered an English speaking girl for
conversation and we go into a quieter outer room to talk.  She's half
Lao half American and doesn't look at all Lao, and I make use of her
to acquaint myself a bit more with the country and try to plan out
some of my short 3 night stay.

After a while she leaves and I'm approached by a young man asking if I
would like to have her for the night.  I instead request a Lao girl but
am given one of Vietnamese ancestry, both parents emigrants from Hanoi.
We agree on a 1000 baht all night, an amount I should've been able to
cut down, and she's sent to my room at about 11pm.  Her name is Vieng,
27, one baby, ok looking, but I decide not worth expending more than
one condom on.

She stays with me until about 11:30 the next morning, and after the
rain tapers off a bit, I head out for lunch at a small local place.  The
rain picks up again while I eat and when I go out again I find the
streets flooded with up to a foot of water.  I had planned a walking
tour of the city that day but the unrelenting rain keeps me indoors.  I
instead go back to my room for another shower.

                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~

After dinner I set up a private day tour of the surrounding area for the
next day.  Because of short notice, I'm unable to hook up with a group
and am paying more than I'd like to.

A little while later I go downstairs intending to check out the night club
scene but instead end up talking to a gen-u-wine mercenary whom I later
find out happens to be in the room next to mine.

He says he runs an air transport company (ala Air America, Southern Air
Transport, etc.) in the region and simply describes his job as moving
cargo, cargo that often happens to be soldiers, weapons, and military
supplies.  He's been in Southeast Asia some 28 years now and tells me
the hotel I happen to have chosen used to be used by Air America people.
We end up talking for a few hours exchanging info on the best and
cheapest pussy (during the Vietnam War you could get a girl short time
for $1.50).  At one point he tells me of a friend who went out into the
country in Thailand and bought a girl off a family for $100, didn't like
her after a few days, and took her back for a refund.  He also talks a
lot about his marshall arts background, black belts and various ground
fighting experiences, including pulling out a small mini-mag flashlight
he keeps and demonstrating various ways to kill someone with it.  A
generally likeable, good natured person, but a little scary after
listening to for the evening.

The end result is that I never get around to acquiring any female
company, and for the first time this trip, go to bed alone.

The entire next day is spent on my tour.  Myself, a guide, and a driver
go off into the country in a taxi.  We get out of the city and drive
along the lush green country roads, stopping along the way at a zoo,
which although not spectacular in its collection, I find significantly
better kept up than the Saigon zoo in Vietnam.

We reach the Nam Ngum lake, created by the Japanese 30 years ago by
damming the Ang Nam Ngum river, and take a boat ride out into the middle
and around its islands.  This is followed by a traditional Lao meal for
lunch and then the trip back, along the way stopping at a Lao country
market to shop.

The rain has finally let up when we return, and in the remaining twilight
hours I walk around Vientiane, ending up at the far side of the central
city where the populace live and set up shop in shacks amid mud and
squalor.  Their pride and dignity is apparent even in the face of such
abject poverty.

                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Later in the evening I'm in my room relaxing after a shower and about to
go out for a late dinner, when I'm visited by the girl I slept with two
nights ago along with her pimp.  It's only about 8:30 and yet they're
ready to line up an all night for me, even asking where I've been all
day, apparently having tried to arrange things even earlier.

I tell him I'm leaving tomorrow morning and am no way paying 1000 baht
for that girl again.  And that anyway I came to Laos for a Lao girl, not
one of direct Vietnamese origin.

They take off, and after dinner in the restaurant downstairs, I find my
soldier-of-fortune friend sitting outside the night club again, and join
him over a beer, once more, in talking about our common interest, oriental
pussy.  He tells me about his days as a contract aircraft mechanic and
engineer in the Philippines where just a few yards from where he worked
girls would be set up in shacks for short time service.  Often times when
he'd be on call for combat repair, guys would simply be off with a girl.
And when planes would come in, someone would go to the shacks to round
them up.  Back then, going off to shag a filipina (or LBFM -- Little Brown
Fucking Machine) was as casual as getting a cup of coffee.

All the while, girls are going past us into the night club and we
are entertained intermittently by being joined by a few of them.  My few
words of Thai come in handy as most every Lao can also understand it.
We occasionally get a pretty one (Laos look much like Thais) but none
will budge below 1000 baht for an all night, and I have no intention of
supporting a grossly overpriced economy.  My friend suspects there's
strong peer pressure among the girls not to cheapen themselves, in
addition to a network of snitches keeping an eye on everyone, recalling
that Laos is a communist country.  I give up about 1am, the area's
mostly shut down by now, and head up alone to bed.

The next morning after breakfast (watched part of "Repo Man" on video
dubbed in Lao), I pack, check out, and take a taxi to the airport.
Earlier the previous evening I was hit on by a very young ladyboy in the
street, and had also heard rumor of a massage parlor, though only open
from 4pm to 8pm.  Plus, I knew I certainly, if I cared to pay their
price, could get one of the hotel's night club girls.  So, over all, you
can, and I did, get laid in Laos, though from what I've found, I question
whether it's worth the expense or effort, maybe only if you're really
desperate and/or horny.  Much of Laos is rural mountains and country
side or farm land, some villages so remote, barter is used instead of
money.  And as I leave this place, I consider returning only to explore
that, and with my own bedmate in tow.  Hmmm, I wonder how much pussy a
carton of Marlboros will get?

[Continued in Cambodia section]

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