Dynargh dhe'n Blogofrob

Tuesday 7th September 2004

Eventually I found the guesthouse, and the next day (Sunday) I spent most of my time idling along the streets, constantly engaged by my surroundings. I wondered at how, despite increasing tourism and Mastercard and Visa stickers in the doorways of many shops, the place retained so much soul. I think much is do to with the fact that UNESCO has conferred World Heritage Status on the town.

On the Nam Khan, the river running parallel to the Mekong, forming the peninsula that much of the town is situated upon, what I would term Dragonboat racing was taking place, and many Laotians were crowded along the banks watching the events. As I walked further along the river, what seemed like chanting grew louder, echoing through a loudspeaker. As I drew nearer, I readied myself in expectation, powering up my camera, primed to record some Buddhist ceremony. Instead I found bingo, the repetitive echoing obviously being the most recent number. It was taking place under a striped awning, as part of the Dragonboat festivities.

Another highlight was chancing across a cosy English language bookshop called L'Estranger. It has many secondhand books for sale and hire, and a comfortable wooden reading room upstairs, where I lounged for an hour, finishing off Francois Bizot's brutally honest and tragic The Gate, while almost guiltily, given my reading material, sipping local green tea in luxury.

Towards sunset I decided to experience the recommended Lao traditional massage. Consulting the Lonely Planet, I found the pages listed only one place in town as offering 'legitimate' services. I can only assume that one of the intrepid writers of this series of overly moralistic guidebooks sacrificed himself for the greater good by trying every service in town until he ceased to be outraged. The massage was good (although predictably painful at times as I heard bones crack somewhere in my chest) and to the Lonely Planet's credit it was populated, aside from myself and an Asutralian gentleman, by locals, being tucked away on a dark steet. I thank the guidebook for this, as I didn't much fancy patronising the places on the main street, their windows full of beaded travellers, gurning while a masseuse kneaded their tired feet. I hasten to add that I have nothing against beaded travellers. Although not sporting a tee-shirt imprinted with the Red Bull logo in Thai or three-quarter length trousers, my beard is coming along quite nicely.

57 - posted at 12:59:53


I'm feeling as if I have missed out on something. I am monumentally unbusy at work today and after looking at Ghost Stations http://www.londonrailways.net/ghost.htm (sadly missing a trick by failing to supply Ghost Trains), I thought - 'I wonder whether paste is still online'. Well I be blowed!
One googlesearch later and I have discoverved (?rediscovered) this trove.

1) How could I have forgotten that you blog?
2) Surely you are too busy to do this?
3) Do you have fans from outside your social group?
4) That bloody Universal remote control doesn't work on my DVD player.

He continues... (now he has a full head of steam)
Today I have realised why Tony Blair PM has never repllied to any of my letters / emails / texts/ flowers with poems on (although my local MPs always have)... My 'special' patients with their 'individual views that only they share' and their 'magic creative thoughts' write to him all the time. I have a lady (from a cult) who corresonds (one way traffic at the moment - Tone is a poor choice of pen-pal) with Mr Blair daily - mostly about the New Testiment, and how we (Docs and staff) are going to burn in hell for all eternity (and perhaps longer).

Next time, I'm gonna write to G 'Dubbya' Bush. Now where are my crayons?


PS Bought Libertines, Soulwax, The Zutons, kasabian and the Killers since I saw you. In order (best to lest best) they go Zutons, Libertines, Killers (the), Kasabian and Soulwayx. A mighty collection of guitar music. Next week the GLC - youknowsit, spa.

1: RoboDoc (The Sticks) - 14:57:01 on Tuesday 7th September 2004 (permalink)

The idea of the Lonely Planet writer investigating the legality (or otherwise) of each and every massage parlour in town is charming - was he (it must have been he) uncovering an eye-watering breadth of 'extras', each time mid-massage and each time a fresh and unforeseen affront to his morality. It might make a great short comic montage as he crosses the threshold of each parlour in turn, clouded with dark suspicions of the unexpected and unhygenic treats in store and then flees from each, tossing a handful of banknotes over his shoulder, limping heavily and crossing a name off the list.

And did you know that Seinfeld Series 1,2 and 3 are being released in DVD box set form on 1 November? Oh happy day!

2: Alex (The Smoke) - 11:09:26 on Wednesday 8th September 2004 (permalink)

Rob - apologies for interrupting your holiday, but could you tell me the name of the agency again you recommended when you saw me in The Slaughtered Lamb? Would be v grateful.

3: Jim - 13:40:33 on Wednesday 8th September 2004 (permalink)

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