Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sabai dee luang prabang

Good evening from Luang Prabang. I am in Laos right now. First in Luang Prabang and tomorrow continuing to Vientiane, and then further south, before crossing into Thailand and down home to Bangkok. I miss Bangkok, but this post shall be about Laos!

Here, the people celebrate Pi Mai, something like, in fact exactly like Songkran in Thailand. For the people who dont know, this is the new year party and everyone gets merry, happy and drunk. The cultural side, with processions and offerings is present too but the most visible difference for the traveller is that EVERYONE gets wet.

There are heaps of people on the back of pick-ups driving through the town, singing, drinking and making music. Gay readers might be interested to know that many guys are topless, and because drunk, a bit less shy to foreigners. In Laos, the gay culture however doesnt seem to be as present as in Thailand. In fact, I have trouble figuring out who might be gay at all...

I am realising that this openness, in expressing sexuality and desire is probably what makes Thailand so appealing for many westerners. In Laos, people are soooo shy and sweet. Everytime someone wants to sell me something, I have to give in...I now own about 4 news cloths and a metal wrist-band.

That's it for now - wish me luck for the long and arduous trip to Vientiane tomorrow! Pictures will follow of course!

oh, in the meantime, I read that Thaksin has no Thai passport anymore, but a Nicaraguan one! Interesting, can I become Nicaraguan too. Apparently they gave it to him so he can lure more investment to Nicaragua...that's about the oddest peace of news I have ever read. I dont think he even knows where Nicaragua is! Also, after his never-ending plights for more democracy, he might want to try living in a democratic country and applying for passport in a mature democracy. Australia? France? Switzerland? Or even fellow ASEAN countries?Any takers?

He also now thinks that HRH is the only person who could solve the current problems in comment on that. In any case, this man (Thaksin) is one sleak man.


kawadjan said...

It's good that you're loving Laos. The people there are very charming indeed. Oh, if you're taking the bus down to Vientiane, why not drop by Vang Vieng? The scenery there is quite stunning as well.

Joey said...

Laos seems like loads of fun... Is it as open as Thailand is? the gay tolerance part?

Was Once said...

I love L.P., it is quiet, charming and I got a once in a lifetime photo there! Some people say it is Thailand 25 years ago.

BB said...

kawadjan: vang vieng not for me. too many farang backpackers. id rather meet lao people. however, landscape was stunningly beautiful.
joey: i think it's a lot more conservative. when i walk around with my two girlfriends they get excessive looks and flirts and all that. no gay flirting. in laos most of the time you have to find out if someone is gay or not. not like in thailand where you can tell from 200 metres.
was once. may i see the photo?:)
all in all luang is probably a lot like northern thailand - a few years ago. but i have never been there so i cant tell:)

Anonymous said...

There's a subtle underlying gayness to everything in Luang Prabang. 95% of the western males who live here are gay. Yet as everything is incredibly discreet (for both legal and face-saving reasons), the casual tourist probably wouldn't notice. One major difference is the gay boys of Laos and Thailand is the Laosdon't typically want a farang boyfriend. The Lao men with western boyfriends (few and far between) are usually looked down on as moneyboys - the types typically seen on holiday up from Thailand.

BB said...

Interesting, mister anonymous. you seem to be an insider, I'd love to know more about luang and laos and gays. are you a foreigner living there?
I had noticed a gay vibe indeed like everywhere in laos. but a very discreet one. i did get a lot of good vibes from the local guys to be honest. i will write an article about this as soon as i am back with a working computer and faster-than-stoneage internet.

lastly, how do you mean 'far between'?
and who is 'on holidays up from thailand?'

i am also seriously wondering about the topic of laos and moneyboys. in vientiane i saw some and i think my friend from the bus was one too - at least part-time.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am a Western guy in Luang Prabang. I live here with my Lao boyfriend of several years. In response to your questions:
- "few and far between", I only meant it in the sense of rare or scarce.
- We see lots of older western gentlemen accompanied by the likes of their rent-a-boys from Pattaya or Silom. I know I'm sterotyping here, but once you see it 1000 times, it starts to just become accepted as normal.

I actually had my eyes open looking to catch you in the New Year crowd, but I missed you. I guess too much Beerlao clouded my sight.

Next time bring along Kawadjan and the Bangkok Dreamer!

BB said...

very interesting, mister anonymous:)

how would you have spotted me anyway?:) I was in a truck spraying around pink water at innocent people...hehehe.

serious, you should have said something before I left!

I see the farang\pattaya\bkk boyfriend couples everywhere where you can go. i guess the farang wants to see the places a bit...

how do the farangs in luang prabang meet their bfs?

i wonder about the lao gays. i had the feeling they were way more curious than the thais, and also somewhat more honest and real. is that true or just an illusion?

kawadjan has been there already and bkkdreamer is not such a traveller....

btw i wouldnt mind getting into contact via email with you!