And I feel fine in Laos.
07/13/2010 35 °C
Pooft, pooft. Tap, tap. Is this thing on? Okay, since it's been almost two years since my last blog post, I thought I would just check to make sure this thing is still working. How it has already been almost two years since I last posted in Nepal is beyond me. Curse you easy life in Korea where time just flies by! I ain't getting any younger, so you can slow down just a bit, if you don't mind.
Anyway, some of you might have been wondering what has happened to my relatively on-going blog posts since I moved to Korea. Then again, some of you might have just been happy for the reprieve. To be honest, when I first moved to Korea, everyday was new and exciting, with strange things around every corner. Well, there are definitely still strange things around every corner, but after living in a place for almost three years, these things just start to seem less blog-worthy and just a part of everyday life. So there's that, and the fact that I'm just kind of a lazy sot.
So if you want to hear about Korea, give me a call. Better yet, come visit. I'm throwing down the gauntlet on that one. Three years out of the country and not one visit from friend, family or foe? I'll be there until February and then who knows? So hurry up, time may be running out. Or perhaps not. You just never know. Which leads me to my next point. . .
I meet the wierdest damn people when I travel. According to James Fernandez, a retired commando from the Viet Nam War and current owner of Military Police Security Gear; "America is about to come completely unhinged and the safest bet is to find another country, save up as much currency as possible (actually, now that I remember correctly, he said all currency would be useless in the future, what I need to do is secure gold, silver and jewels) and plan to never return." I can't say I share remotely in his fatalistic views, but I seem to be carrying out his doomsday plan sort of by accident. I'm living a nice, happy life in Korea, saving a bunch of money with no firm date on when I plan to return. But that's beside the point.
So, who is James Fernandez, and how did I get to spend two hours listening to his bizarre rants? Not by choice, my friends, not by choice. The reason for firing up my blog again is that I'm on the backpacker trail again, though this time for only a quick two week holiday from work in Korea. Wanting to return to Myanmar, but finding the visa a complete hassle to procure from Seoul (while living 2 hours south by train), I opted to head to Laos instead for my vacation. I hadn't been and had heard nothing but good things.
As I checked out of my hotel in Bangkok and was a enduring a mild hangover from watching the World Cup the night before, I was just trying to kill some time before heading to the train station to take an overnight train to Laos that would depart at 8:00 p.m. Charging my I-pod on the computer in the hotel lobby, I sat there reading and nursing a bottle of water when old James came and sat next to me. For those of you who live in Vail, he pretty much looked identical to Tom Ricci, although he had chosen not to bald with dignity (as Tom and now myself have chosen to do), so he had really long, wild strands of hair sprouting out from the pretty barren field that was the top of his head. This made him look like a wild-eyed, old man version of a Cabbage Patch doll.
Now, I'm not sure what aspect of my personality or appearance has been stamped with the official "crazy people - come talk to me" stamp, but it's on me somewhere. So for two hours, I sat and listened to this guy (who in fairness, was a hell of a nice guy, just a bit of conspiracy theorist) tell me things like:
"I've predicted every major earthquake in the world going back to San Francisco in the 80's."
Me: "Really, how do you do that?"
"I'm an observer. I watch things. If you just look around, it's plain as day when something like that is about to happen."
He went on to list about 15 places that had earthquakes happen that he predicted in advance, most of which I'd never heard of, and didn't really have an answer for me when I said he should use his skills to let these people know if he saw one coming. I suppose there's too much liability if you get one wrong, the whole city evacuates and then blames you for bringing everything to a standstill.
Aside from the world tearing itself apart, his primary concern was with the Chinese. Predicting the 3rd World War within the next 5 years, he went on about a 45-minute rant concerning his belief that China was going to be the force to push all the dominoes in motion. Scary as it may sound, this argument of his actually seemed the most plausible. Had I been taking notes (or not been mentally tuning in and out) I could better explain his laundry list of reasons, but I was also getting a bit confused as he would interperse random factoids about the CIA purposefully flying billions of dollars of cocaine into America to keep the "drug war" a profitable business, George Bush's secret personal military living on his ranch in Paraguay (made up of the war criminals he pardoned) and his belief that America was going to become the Saudi Arabia of clean water for the rest of the world.
Honestly, I'm having a bit of fun at his expense here (and am now starting to think he might google his name, read this and track me down), but it was two hours of time much more entertaining than anything Thai TV could have provided me. So for that, James, I thank you. I hope you're wrong about almost everything you said, but if you're not, I'll come find you with my gold bricks and ruby staffs and we'll live like kings somewhere far, far away from the USA and China.
But for now, I'm just going to enjoy Laos. I'm here, it's beautiful and I'm off to check out this Beer Lao I've heard so much about.
Later from Vientiene.