They are actually not all my pictures, in truth, if they look really good (or are of children) then they are probably not mine. Keep in mind that the "slideshow" option is probably the easiest to use, especially if you have a broadband connection.
The people (excluding many of the ones trying to sell you stuff) were quite nice, and very tolerant of my non-existent Thai/Lao (*very* similar languages). The food was good but wasn't any cheaper than
lots of little villages with houses made of woven grasses/palm with cute kids. Some of them (the villages) see $$$ when they see you so they try to sell you something, though mind you they aren't a fraction as aggressive as they are in Morocco/Turkey/Mexico. Sometimes you just want to tip them or give little present of a penny (I brought some pennies from the US, American change is not so easy to get abroad so it is more of a novelty than dollars) but then you see the kids/people that resort to begging because they can make a ton more doing that than they can selling stuff, well thats not totally true but you can make more per given unit of work; this is something that can not be encouraged. We did alittle hiking, rock scrambling, took a river boat ride on the
hilly/mountainous areas with really twisty roads, some people got really sick, a dirty little guy sitting across from me all of a sudden hopped up, jumped over his buddy (who had a window seat) and stuck his head out the window to toss his cookies (apparently a few days worth of cookies at that). Alittle while later the guy helping the bus driver calmly got up, got a bag of little bags out, and started passing them out to all those that felt like they were going to pop,
quite amusing (I can say that since miraculously wasn't one of the afflicted). We took a mini-van back, it was much better (except that our driver was pretty d*mn surly) but we still had a few casualties.
OTHER NEWS, Tsunami.
To those that were wondering, no I wasn't in
When I got back here (Bangkok) I found that everyday life here (and Laos) are/were surprisingly removed from the tragedy but being in an aid type organization you tend to hear about the worst parts of the tragedy, no not all the deaths but all the agencies competing to try and get as much funding as they can. I love money, i really love it but to see agencies and people try to deceive and cheat their way into more aid money is incredible. No on is totally innocent, the US giving incredibly little (considering the GDP [nay, the powers that be seem to prefer funding pointless Vietnam-like wars]), Japan giving strategic aid (It is almost amusing to hear the story about the land locked African country announce at a UN meeting that whaling was a good idea [after it had received some Japanese aid, and having previously denounced whaling], this time does not seem to be an exception), the French at first giving less than half a million $ aid (until they received criticism), or some local Thais (and surely locals in other countries) saying they lost 50ft 200hp boats when they actually lost a 15ft paddle boats... its disappointing, no one is innocent. The organization i am interning with is trying to form a consortium to pool/evenly allocate funds among the aquaculture related organizations in the affected countries but they are having a hard time getting anyone to join because everyone seems to want more than their fair share... these are aid organizations people!
ok, enough about