December 2008
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Fire and Ice

I managed to get through another birthday last week, and my mother sent me an e-card which featured animated fireworks. Coincidentally, Yeosu held a Fireworks Festival the evening before, featuring a contest between teams from 4 countries–Korea, China, the Netherlands and France. (I don’t know who won.) Unfortunately, I had a night class to teach. Afterwards, however, I was able to see some of the higher bursts arcing above the mountain across from my apartment. Here’s one of them.


Nai has been voicing his annual complaint about how chilly it is at night in Laos (mid-fifties fahrenheit). His family doesn’t have running hot water and he says that when he takes a bucket shower “water is same-same eye.” (Most Lao people have difficulty pronouncing the “s” sound at the end of English words, so here he is saying the water is like ice.) Well, it’s about to get even colder. The weather forecast is predicting temperatures in the mid-forties next week, which is VERY cold for Laos. Luckily, it is also forecast that the low temperatures won’t last for very long. Good thing, because I’m heading there on the 14th.

I got quite paranoid about the recent problems in Thailand, with protesters closing Suvarnabhumi Airport. I was afraid it might still be shut down or closed for safety checks after the protesters abandoned their siege. So, I had my travel agent in Seoul change my itinerary. Instead of flying from Seoul to Hong Kong to Bangkok on Cathay Pacific Airlines, I’m now flying from Seoul to Hanoi, Vietnam on Vietnam Airlines and from there to Vientiane on a rickety old Laos Airline plane. Naturally, the airport authority in Thailand is now saying that the airport will reopen for normal business in just a few days. Bad timing on my part. Wish me luck.

My Transportation to Vientiane


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