I just called my friend Nai in Laos. The entire family was gathered around the TV, watching the opening ceremonies of the Southeast Asia games and they (and probably most of Laos) were very excited about the event. As far as I know, Laos has never hosted anything like this before, so the country has been quite proud that they’ve been selected as the host country. I hope to take in a few of the events when I head back there on Saturday. The Games run through the 17th or 18th, so I should have a good opportunity to do so. I’m sure Nai will be happy to watch some of the sports, especially his favorite, volleyball; he wouldn’t normally be able to afford a ticket, so I’ll buy. What the heck, I’ll buy tickets for the whole family! It’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime event for them, and I wouldn’t want them to miss out on the chance to attend if they want to and if I can get tickets.

Actually, some of the events are free–cycling, golf, billiards, and track and field are some of the freebies. The soccer games, badminton, swimming, boxing, volleyball and others aren’t, but they’re not all that expensive, at least not for the “rich” westerner. 😉 Between 4-6 bucks. It should be a good time. Here’s a photo from 2005 showing Nai, a.k.a., Volleyball Slayer, trying to spike the ball. Notice the smiles and laughter from the spectators. (Click on the photo a couple of times for larger views.)


Pretty much all of my classes have finished the semester and I’ve got most of my administrative duties completed, so the next couple of days I’ll be packing and preparing to go. I’ll be leaving here on Friday night on the 11:10 p.m. (and only) bus to Incheon Airport near Seoul. I’ll get there about 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning and then wait around for my 10:30 a.m. flight to Hanoi. That flight arrives at the Noi Bai Airport around 1:30 p.m. and then I have another 3 1/2 hour wait until the 5 o’clock flight to Vientiane. Long night and day, but for the most part I love traveling and hanging around airports.

Incheon is one of the best airports in the world, but Noi Bai leaves a bit to be desired. However, the last time I was there, a lot of construction was going on in the transit area–it looked like a lot of new shops or restaurants were going to be opening, so I’m certainly curious about what developments have taken place. You all will be the first ones to know, since I’ll probably write a post from one of the restaurants there that has internet service. More later.

Noi Bai Restaurant from last December