I’m just kind of hanging out in Vientiane right now. The SEA Games have finished, but Vientiane is still very crowded, especially with traffic. It’s quite difficult to cross some of the main streets at rush hour except at stoplights–I think the sleepy days of yore are at an end for the still-small city. I suppose that’s good news or bad news, depending on your point of view. Good news for local merchants but bad because of all the negative impacts of increased tourism. The Lao government is actively pushing for more tourism, but I hope they do it right and don’t import some of the problems that Thailand has, especially the sex industry, increased crime, etc.

About the only events of note lately are the snake hunt and the wedding of the title of this post. “Snake hunt?” you say. Yeah, someone spotted a snake at Nai’s house, so he and his sister, Nui, tracked it down to a junk pile nestled up against his house. They dismantled, carefully, the pile, while I supervised from the top of the outside stairs and kept an eye out for the intruder. They found it and ingloriously dispatched it with a bamboo pole and a hoe into its next life (or whatever). It was a thin, green thing, about a foot and a half long. I asked Nai if it was poisonous, but he didn’t seem to know. I sure wouldn’t want to find out the hard way.

Then, a friend of Nai’s had a wedding reception for his daughter, to which I was invited. I’ve met the fellow 3 or 4 times, and he’s a teacher in one of the local schools. Among the subjects he teaches is English, so we can communicate with each other pretty well. He also has an English teacher friend who was invited, but Nai said the guy had to work until 9 p.m. and wouldn’t turn up until then. Well, he turned up about 8:30, completely smashed. I talked to him a bit and what I could get out of him is that he decided to cancel his class because he started drinking earlier in the day and just kept imbibing. So much for professional integrity. Anyway, it was a good reception and I made some new Lao friends. I have some photos, but can’t get any of them posted at the moment. There isn’t much different from a typical U.S. reception–lots of dancing, drinking, eating and other merriment.

So, we’re either going to Vang Vieng or Nong Khai tomorrow, but we haven’t decided. It’s kinda like the Beatles sang on Abbey Road: “And oh, that magic feeling–nowhere to go.” More later.