March 29, 2006

Killing Fields & Oudong

Motos are great, especially at night. The dark air is relieving while speeding down the streets. But at a stand still, the relief turns into another shiny layer on the face. Jacky, my driver takes me along a road full of carts filled with morning glories. The rivers cutting through the fields and tall sugar palms grow like bean sprouts, individually scattered across a flat horizon. The pink-brown dirt flys up and I aquire a nice blue mask that loops around my ears.

We end up at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek where all the victims from S21 were found. Large holes, surprisingly very close to each other used to be filled with skeletons. The largest, not looking so large, contained over 400 people. Torn clothes still clung into the earth. Piles of tibias and femurs by each sign. A tree where children were beaten. A tree that had contained a microphone, used to muffle the sounds of pain.

In the opposite direction of the city was a completely different atmosphere. Passed several markets and schools through a Muslim area and stopped for a refreshing glass of sugar cane juice. Further North, we saw more countryside. Fields of opened pink lotus and the river weaving in and out of view. The flat plains were interrupted by only a few mountains clumped in the distance. The peak was the tops of temples, Oudong, the old capital. Lots of chicken for lunch including liver tasting lungs, lumpy boiled skin and skinny heads and legs. Then the climb up the stairs giving better views of the countryside below, getting closer to the chanting ceremony at the topmost temple. I guiltily handed over donations and gratefully accepted a free chat with monk nuns and kids. Odd fabrics cut into triangles, decorating the ceilings. Young monks laughing at me as I dash past the jumping monkeys. A cool ride home, happy to stand again. P

March 28, 2006

Phnom Penh

Tuol Sleng Museum, a school converted into rows of now empty rooms. Except for a cold metal bed frame, placed in the middle of yellow tiles. The light poured in from the far, barred window with bright green banana tree leaves waving in the breeze. Above the bed was a rough black and white 30-odd year old photo of a person chained to the stiff contraption. He lay flat in an uncomfortable position. Underneath was a black circular pool on the floor.

Isles of 4x6 portraits showed expressions of sadness, helplessness and fright. They dared not scream, cry, laugh or disobey. Brick walls slanting creating narrow cells only a couple feet wide. Silence is defeaning, ghosts not resting. Reflections of myself and a photo behind, blends into the wide eyes of a young girl. Bright white patterns from the holes in the walls, subtracts parts of faces. Blood stains still existing on the floor. I find art in the numbers and lines painted by the doorways. The coils of barbed wire and holes in the doors. Today, grass grows and white flowers speckle the trees. Yesterday in the past hopefully never to return. P

From Vietnam to Cambodia

Wow, the last few days have gone by so quickly but with many drawn out painful moments. My last day in Saigon I strolled into a gallery exhibiting an artist from Hue. Included in the show was a blank easel, waiting to painted with someone's face. I was up! Starting with a red blotch, my portrait evolved into a bright mixture of thick, wide strokes. A few Picasso-ish lines for the eyes and nose and it was done, very fun. But the day was mostly about eating... sampled a few freshly made waffles, cooled down with some ice coffee, tried ice cream at a trendy cafe, had a bowl of noodle soup on the street, savoured a cup of warm soy milk and then totally indulged into a massively tall Auzzie burger. Mmmmmmmm.

Then came the 'wonderful day on the Mekong Delta tour'. Two days of hot boats on a windless river, cramped buses filled with dust from the pot-holed roads, waiting for late buses, a shared room that was stiffling with no fan or windows that would open, getting up early, a 'free breakfast' of bread, arriving late, driving around trying to find a room. I absolutely refuse to get on another boat or take another tour! But the hassle of the last few days were reduced to a distant memory. The trail we had created within the first hour of entering Phnom Penh was a string of moto drivers, hotel workers and waiters that brought our separated group of four back together again. Cambodia is filled up to the rim of enormously helpful people. P

March 25, 2006


Toured through Cu Chi tunnels with a stop at the War Remnants Museum. Walked through 100m of the 200 plus km complicated system of small tunnels. Three levels deep, these tiny entrances and low passages were dug out with a trowel and basket. Kitchens, sleeping areas and toilets were set within the extensive maze. Booby traps were created for the enemy--if they entered, they never came out. For three years, the Americans didn't even know this creation existed.

Tried steamed tapioca and watched people try some shots with an AK47. The recreations of traps with deadly-spiked bamboo waiting at the bottom of hidden pits. Metal spikes made from recylced bullets casings. The dried leaves in the regrowth of a new forest crunched as I stepped forward. I was silenced by my thoughts of what it would have been like only 31 years ago. Feeling a little unsettled as the gun shots crackled in the distance. Feeling disturbed at the hundreds of photos dipicting destruction, death and torture. And the continued suffering of the after effects of agent orange. Not only in the men walking around with crutches, but also the soldier's children who inherited the painful disfigurements of this chemical. P

Chaing Mai, Thailand

Originally uploaded by Art Journey.

Thailand and Laos pics are up! P

March 22, 2006

On a bike again

My favourite part of today was finally arriving at Linh Phuoc Pagoda. It was a beautiful bicycle ride with great views looking down at valleys of farm fields and smoking mountains in the distance. But great views means great heights and pedalling up 8 kms meant a few breaks for water and some smiles from the lucky people speeding by on their motos. But also, what goes up, must come down and I even ended up passing others down the long slope. It was awesome, even knowing that I'd have to take the same road back to town.

I arrived ready for a snack and asked a woman what she had hidden underneath her silver pot's lid. They looked like clear wontons with a shrimp paste inside some and a yellow something in the others. Served cold in a clear sauce they were delicious. After looking at Buddha, I was then invited over by two friendly men eating something like yogurt. In 2 seconds I was sitting on a little stool at their little table, had a cup of this white pudding substance, a cup of tea, and we all laughed about Vietnam traffic and cold Canadian winters.

Then it was time to climb up the pagoda. A spiral staircase covered with broken tea cups, saucers, vases and bottles. The colourful glass and patterned ceramics crunched beneath my feet and fragments fell on my head from floors above. No "under constuction" or "do not enter" signs to be seen. Guys were chipping away, moulding these pieces into tiles that fit into the wall's mosaic of flowers and dragons. I squeezed through scaffolding, walked on their materials and kept asking "Is it ok for me to go up?" Yup, thumbs up, hellos and how are yous all the way! The view was spectacular, I was on top of Dalat. 1500-something metres above sea level and all I could see were rows of salad ingredients, a pastel Catholic style graveyard, stacked French styled homes and the hilly horizon spiralling all around. I ended the day with another bowl of pho. Shared another little table with a family this time, the sweet 2 year old delighted to wave to a stranger. P

March 21, 2006


I would rate today as one of the best on my top 10 list. Paid more than I would have normally, but having my own driver to take me around the country side on a moto was so worth the experience. Once in the area, everybody knows Easy Rider, the company that takes travellers around Dalat on a day tour or or even several days (backpack and all!) from Saigon to Hanoi. The drivers are also guides with excellent English and a positive attitude.

Eric, NY, on his moto and I toured around the fresh, cooler climate of the city and it's surroundings set atop some mountains. There are a few volcanos in the area that have provided rich, orange earth to grow fields of organic vegetables. So crispy and flavourful in the local pho (soup pronounced "fu"). Groups of coffee, avacado, jackfruit and pine trees. Lettuce, basil, mint, beans, strawberries and mulberries planted in lines. Roses and hydrangeas growing tall and brightly under the plastic-roofed green houses.

Walked behind a roaring waterfall with the spray swirling in circles. Was grossed out by a few bamboo walls filled with crawling white silk worms building their cocoons. Admired the factory where they speedily unravelled the oval shapes into large wheels of pure, natural silk. Walked through long lines of hanging bags of sawdust for the growing clusters of mushrooms. Was facinated by the young, uncomplaining children weaving baskets so fast and accurately. Wandered through the maze of twisting hallways and unusual shaped rooms of the "crazy house", designed by the daughter of Vietnam's previous leader. Was inspired by the quantity of paintings created by the "crazy monk" who will one day travel the world off his profits to visit tourists who bought his paintings. Shared a delicious hot pot of simmering fresh greens, meats, fish and noodles in a tasty broth. Ah... P

March 20, 2006

Nha Trang

A very pleasant city with everything you need. I decided to take advantage of the weather and do the party boat ride around the islands and relax on the tree-lined beach. Our energetic guide sang karoke while he danced, was a floating bartender in the water and made sure we had enough pineapple, watermelon and tofu-bean-fish-spring rolls to eat. All the waitresses spoke great English and held my hands and hugged my shoulders as if we had been friends for years. They asked where I was going next and that they would miss me and gave some suggestions of hotels to stay at.

I wasn't sitting on the beach alone very long before I had a young woman custom fitting two anklets on my left foot, an older woman selling flat-seeded crispy bread lying asleep on my left, a bright kakhi green costumed security guard on my right, a girl and her cousin squatting behind me to say hello and then the rest of her large family to later join and circle all around. A very relaxed and quiet little gathering we had formed, keeping shaded from the pines behind us. They mostly just stared at me until I looked and we smiled at each other. I get a few answers from my questions but mostly there is just laughter from not understanding. My sudden group of friends gradually left and soon it was just me again, to finish my drawing of the shaped trees in the park. A garden of dark cubes, cylinders, cones and spheres, up in the air, supported by their mangly branches. P

March 17, 2006

Kon Tum

So I went! Another ride with beautiful scenery of more mountains and the greens that covered them. It was a strange city for me though. Much bigger than I had anticipated and much few tourists as well. Actually, I was the only one! Strolling the streets being looked at for my whiteness, not my money was better I guess, but no matter what happens everything's so freaking strange! Woman reaching out to stroke my cheeks. No, I mean it was a great experience, very nice people there, but you wouldn't really know at first glance.

The kids are the best and want to say hello because it's just too funny. One hopped on my bike and another pushed us along. One at a time, a few girls ended up peddaling beside me to ask a couple questions, or not. A little girl showed me how big she could blow up her corn balloon. High-schoolers invited me under their shelter while we drank water and waited for the storm to die out. The cutest 3 boys sat infront of their house, behind a house shouting "Hello, hello, hello!!!". We had a small conversation and they agreed to a photo. But they are the only ones I have met who didn't want to see their picture. Their unsure expressions and no movement to come over made me wonder if they have even seen a digital camera before? Anyway, great photo!

The day was super humid as I rode around. Fields behind the villages grew various plantations in the corner of the Dakbla River. A couple Rung houses appeared above the tree tops. They are traditional meeting places that are recognized by a massive, tall roof. The height represents power, not sure if there's a physical reason for it. Sat at a teeny table on the sidewalk while the rain subsided. Was intrigued to try a savoury pancake with bean sprouts inside, made on 5 little burners right beside me. My mission was to find shampoo in the market. I successfully did not by hair dye but unsuccessfully gained a bottle of conditioner. My favourite person was An, an artist who has designed a cafe of carved sculptures, hanging gongs and plants all over. He lost his father in the war. He says my drawings remind him of a French artist who came to Kon Tum, named Soffie. P

Getting half of the way there

My plan was to get the 6am bus to Qui Nhon and transfer to another bus at 12 to get over to Kon Tum by 5. It didn't work. I blame it on the rain.

All hues of yellow and spring green fields streaked brightly through the wet windows. Pleased, I thought it worked out that it rained on a day I was only in transit. Displeased, it slowed us down by 2 hours and the driver broke his promise to drop me at the bus station. "Take moto. 6km. Over there." The store owner I was disposed infront of said "You walk. 50m. Over there." So I walk over there to find a bus sign but no buses. A girl shook her head and offered me a ride but we head in the opposite direction. I ask her why we go this way but my question fades into the loud crinkle of her plastic raincoat and the heavening rain ticking on her helmet. She stops at a different bus sign and talks to the man sitting under it. After some discussion they decide for me to get on his moto, brushing off "How much?" because nobody speaks English.

We continue in the wrong direction, past the same rice paddies I saw half an hour earlier. Probably 6km but not the right way! A family stands, brother, girl holding baby, man, woman, lined up outside a wooden house. 50,000 dong for the moto, an argument that won not in my favour. "Where is the bus station?" Everybody laughs. I stand in the downpour, my own blue plastic raincoat bought too late because I was already wet. The woman keeps pulling out a small, red plastic stool. Why would I want to sit here? They all talk to me in rapid Vietnamese, pointing and laughing along the way. I feel ripped off and abandoned on some dirt road with these amused strangers. I ask for a toilet and they point down a narrow lane between 2 buildings. I stumble over broken bricks and strewn garbage to find a corner with a view of some dreary river. The cool rain falls in huge droplets down my back and face, mixing with the warm water from my eyes.

I felt horrible and everyone seems to be laughing at me. But seems is what it was and their way of helping. I began to see minivans pass by... Hanoi, Saigon, Kon Tum. The young student who writes in his book said 3 hours but maybe he meant 3 minutes. The driver said that way but maybe he meant this way. I do not know, I will not know! I feel ridiculous not able to speak their language. It could have been a funny adventure. But these are the days I don't want to be the only single traveller on the bus, nevermind the only traveller to go to Kon Tum. My travel instincts were wrong and I expect them to be better by now. So now stuck in Qui Nhon I try to decide if it's worth going to this off-the-beaten-track town. P

My Son

Even though my ride picked me up nice and early at 8am, there was waiting, a motorbike, waiting, a bus, waiting, a minivan, and waiting, which didn't get us started until at least 10:30. Another rush through the ancient ruins for a few pics and a glimpse of Cat's Tooth Mountain in the background, to catch the "noon-thirty" bus back to town.

My Son is rated as one of the most important sites in Southeast Asia, along with Bagan in Myanmar, Borobudur in Java and Ankor Wat in Cambodia. However, it really is a ruined ruins, many of the monuments completely destroyed by the war in '69. A few black corners of walls perched on a moundy green hill. Small stone peices arranged into columns horizontally on the ground. Cob webs and grass spreading across and growing into the layered bricks. Parts of washed down reliefs in the broken walls. Beheaded figures and lonely feet mounted to walls. Streams of sweat dribbled down to my feet even in the coolness of an unlit temple, protected from the beating sun. P

March 14, 2006

Hoi An

Maybe it was just Hue, my experience with the people changed radically when I stepped foot off the bus. I realized this town was very similar to the places I passed through in Laos, where almost everyone is living off of the tourist's sales. A society where personalities and expectations have changed due to the fact they see me as a rich tourist who can spend as I please. And then I take the liberty of having my specific measurements measured, taking advantage of cheap custom made garments. I have fallen under the spell of buying again, unable to resist the wonderful displays presented before me. Hundreds of beautifully fit tailored suits, dresses and tops line the roads. Dozens of coloured lanterns light up the dark nights. Canvas and silk paintings of girls on bikes and woman with long ponytails.

Very upsetting, I have lost my lovely Japanese hat. It has served me well over the past 5 years but it will still be sadly missed. I think the tragedy happened in the chaos of the crowded market of bubbly cucumbers, flat mandarins and layers of bean sprouts upon baskets of cabbage. When saying "no thank you" to every offer of necklaces, t-shirts and ceramic plates. When trembling as a poor man begs with no eyes and no arms. When paying a coin for a photo to the laughing woman with bright yellow flowers turning warmer in the late afternoon sun. When the pesky little girls and boys who hit me when I don't buy their cards. Perhaps, I can find a collapsable Vietnamese cone hat? P

Out and about around Hue

My bicycle took me around a huge round-about. I was centred among criss-crossing motos infront, beside and behind me. It looked like chaos but for some reason it all made sense and seemed natural, nobody hit me or even came too close and I felt relatively calm gliding steadily with the flow. By the day's end, I even braved making a left hand turn (Laos and Vietnam both drive on the right... usually). How silly I thought it necessary to wear a helmet in Toronto! But before this turn, I'll admit to the brief halt to examine the situation. In one moment a woman approached pointing to water. I say "No thank you" with a smile which triggers her to abandon the thought of a sale and ask one of the usual questions "How old are you?" "30" She holds my arm firmly. "How old are you?" "30" "Lying. You Lie! Why do you lie to me?" "I'm not lying, it's true!" Maybe she believed me, maybe she didn't, but for now on I'm 25 to avoid these looks of shock and conversation-stopper-situations once and for all. And maybe then it will be more acceptable that I'm not married or have any kids. It's really funny and I take it as a compliment, but really, this is getting way too repetitive!

My opinion about the Vietnamese gets stronger every time I see another one smile with pure delight. They are truely the sweetest people I have ever met. Many will say hello when they see me. Other's stares transform into outbreaks of laughter when I say hello first. Maybe it's just Hue, but they do not get upset or lose interest when I don't want to buy. They just genuinely seem to enjoy having an English conversation. Women squeeze my arms and look deep in my eyes. Girls hold my hands and giggle with me. Cyclo drivers ride beside and ask what I did today (knowing I do not need a ride). Little boys jump up and down when I tell them my name. They are so lovely!

Oh ya, I saw a Japanese covered bridge, 7km out of town, past enormous rice paddies. But it was definitely about the journey today. The best (and pretty much only) part of my day was passing people and watching for their amazing reactions. P

March 08, 2006


Clusters of roses on every street corner,
cut petals and leaves colouring the sidewalks.
Streets filled with motos, cyclos and bikes,
smiling and handshaking, just saying hello.

The Forbidden Purple City was mostly green,
overgrown grass and scattered plant pots.
It felt so mysterious, enchanted and erie,
because in a gigantic courtyard was only me.

Classical music played on a piano,
a distant tune among stone-cold sculptures.
Windows were closed and classrooms deserted,
one student rides by on her bicycle.
It's weird and cold and uninviting,
like I've appeared on stage for a horror movie.

All of a sudden appear 3 male voices,
laughing together and saying hello.
They point in the direction of an open doorway,
framing an easel sitting inside.

I walk on over to see the drawing,
inside were rows of 20 more.
It's quiet inside until I get to the back,
2 students fine-tuning their accurate shading.

5 more people arrive, then 10, then 15,
no longer alone, they ask where I'm from.
I show them my sketchbook and take their photos,
we laugh and misinterpret eachother's words.
Time to leave, the teacher was waiting,
Thank you. A smile. The class resumes.

I re-enter the strangeness of abandoned ruins,
parts of walls, the rest destroyed from war.
These remnants of orderly temples and gates,
grew into a maze of walkways and gardens.
So much was gone but so much is the same,
as the outside city littered in flowers.

March 07, 2006

Out of Laos

A very long day starting at 6.30am of tuk tuks, buses and motorcycles. The first bus gave me time to improve my skills at killing mosquitos. I don't think Buddhism is for me because I get so much satisfaction in this. The best are those electric tennis rackets... tzsip! Had one stop when at least a dozen vendors filled the isle with various things on sticks. I think the 3 boiled eggs are a great idea! Regretted not buying the insects (legs still on) beautifully stabbed length-wise in a neat formation. Passed a storm of white butterflies which glorified a poor village. The drunk man next to me took great interest in reading the bios of the Lonely Planet authors.

My first impression at the border of Lao Bao was a dusty mess and everyone wore masks. I wondered if there had been a new SARS outbreak but I think it was for the construction and/or pollution. I then got to have several tours of the city driving back and forth wondering if our bus was actually headed for a destination. But I found a few minutes past the city, the country transformed into an entirely different land from Laos. Mountain ranges became higher in numbers and in height. The grass was greener and the slopes covered in luscious vines. It was a breathe of fresh air in scenery and in the people. Each border official man and masked money-exchanger woman said I was beautiful (hehe!). The girl next to me giggled at my Vietnamese pronounciations and I helped her with English. Her, along with a new passenger also took great interest in reading my popular Lonely Planet! Motorbike-guy in Hue was tough to bargain with but took great care to make sure I got to my guesthouse okay, and with a huge smile! So many other happy, smiling, friendly waiters and drivers within my first few hours. And the beef noodle soup came with a heap of lettuce, mint and other greens which was refreshingly healthy. I love Vietnam! P

March 06, 2006


Such a strong contrast from the other cities I have seen in Laos, I counted less than 10 other tourists today. There are so many parents begging with their children at each temple and restaurant. I gave my coconut to one little girl and her dad, who ended up asking me two more times throughout the day. It's a very small town, with more curious monks at the temples and lots of motorcycles weaving around tuk tuks, cars and my very upright bicycle. Tons of one-tabled restaurants but nobody seems to be serving. Found one Lao-Paris Cafe which served some delicious chicken-mushroom soup and spring rolls. Long streaks of lightening threatened each side of the city but only dark clouds hovered above and wind scattered the dusty lanes. Thin plastic bags bounced along the gravel and tree tops swayed madly. Across the Mekong, a sand cloud drifted along it's length, fading out the view on the other side. P

March 05, 2006

Leaving Vientiene

Eight hour bus trips always give you lots of time to think. Sometimes I think I should be thinking about something much more important just to at least be productive with my time. I cannot write because it's too bumpy, cannot draw because the pictures move by too fast, cannot read because I don't have a book, cannot listen to my music because the Thai pop karoke is blasting... I'm very good at excuses.

I laugh at the fact the bus stops at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Everyone stumbles out to find their spot in the grass or behind a bush to pee. I was so glad I didn't drink any tea this morning because that was our first stop in four hours. A few hours later a little boy ran out to a rock and took so long, I think nervous the entire bus was waiting for him.

I admire the fact that dogs are allowed to take themselves for a walk down the street. Cows are not limited to a designated square within a fence. They wander either in rows to a certain destination or stand unconcerned in the middle of the road blocking traffic. Small children appear so confident riding infront of their parent on a motorcycle.

I loved the idea of 3 hard boiled eggs on a stick, a perfect snack for vendors to sell through the passenger windows.

I ate a fish today. The whole thing was placed infront of me with it's huge mouth pronouncing "OHHH". I thought a bubble would come out at any moment. It was grilled with salt whitening it's body and tasted really good with the sticky rice. P

March 04, 2006


The French influence is all around from the writing on signs to the fluffy croissants served in cute cafes. There is even a modern imitation of the Arc du Triomphe, a concrete arch in the middle of a huge round about. Built in 1962, it was made with concrete donated by the Americans to build an airport. Now stands a stucture, it's own sign even saying it becomes less impressive as you get closer. Up top is a great way to view the golden stupa from a distance, the famous structure printed on the cover of the Laos Lonely Planets.

Tried out a weaving course at a Woman's Training Centre North of the city. They use the traditional looms to make silk fabrics, similar to what I see everywhere. Even with all the strings counted and the pattern pre-determined, it took a lot of concentration to remember all the steps. Kup patiently demonstrated the steps without hardly saying a word. Emily and I were in a silent meditation of: step on the right pedal, pass the black thread through, flip up the wooden plank, weave each row of coloured threads, push the threads together, repeat with the left, lower the bamboo stick to change the pattern, replace the wood, flip it up... After 3 solid hours I managed to create a scarf about 2 inches long. I think I will just continue to buy all my fabrics ready made! P

March 03, 2006

Phoudindeang Village

Only a few kms from town is a small organic farm that makes silk, grows mulberries and provides a library and classroom to teach English to kids. It was the perfect escape from the renovation-construction-tourist chaos that was happening in town. I didn't see the silk but the tempura mulberry leaves were light and crispy, the rice had a nice pink colouration, the shake was frothy and the fat berry-packed pancake was gorgeous. And then I volunteered to try my skills at teaching. I discovered that knowing english is much easier than showing others how to learn it.

DAY 1, What I Expected: a 1 hour class, teaching art, communicating in english. What I Didn't Expect: Almost 50 children 11-18 years, no responses to my questions, only 8 peices of paper, 1 outdoor watertap which meant paint all over the ground outside. The Plan: Introduce myself as an artist and talk about things that have inspired me during my travels in other countries including Laos. Do a simple demonstration with watercolours and have groups paint a mural-collage using pictures and words to describe what they find inspirational about their village. Result: Not one person volunteered to speak. Because I used the mountains as an example, all 7 groups had a mountain in their mural. Nobody wrote any words. Used way too much paint out of the new tubes. The only questions they asked were "What is your name? How old are you? Are you married? How many people in your family?" My Thoughts: I never want to teach ever! They didn't like the class. Need a much better plan for tomorrow. I want to run away!

DAY 2, The New Plan: Have a lesson explaining what a noun and a verb is. Play Pictionary as a way to draw words the audience has to guess. Use the word in a sentence using at least 1 noun and 1 verb. The Class: At the beginning I had to place the white board marker in hands and force people to go up and draw. My sentence "I saw a turtle in the toilet today." (true story!) triggered one boy to write "Ross poos in the toilet." One child had a lot of difficulty writing n's and m's, and d's and b's but the class helped him by yelling out the letters one at a time. Result: It became a community effort, I'm sure much like how they live their everyday lives helping eachother at home. Each one spoke more and looked much more interested than yesterday. Everyone said thank you and good luck to my family (that's for you, mom, dad, Steven, Nancy!) and hoped I would come back. My Thoughts: Success! I felt overjoyed from their enthusiasm. These young adults are very well behaved. As an non-mandantory, after school class, it's incredible they were all there because they chose to learn. I would prefer to teach art to younger kids, who speak english as a first language! Well worth the experience. P

March 01, 2006

Vang Vieng

The twisting road down here was never straight for more than a few seconds. But the drive was well worth the scenery. The mountains were high, flat planks of rock, making unusual jagged formations on top. Some were rounded and seemed like they would fall over. Others tall triangles like tops on a castle. For some reason they had very little detail and were just massive, flat objects of grays. Irregular shapes getting whiter, further in the distance, until they were hardly there. Even closer, tubing down the river with the mountains looming on the right, they still didn't seem real. A wonder of natural limestone and never a section of river without a Beer Lao in sight. P