Living the Life of Riley in Lao!

Trip Start Jul 22, 2009
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Where I stayed
Vang Ngern River Resort

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Monday, November 21, 2011

Writing a book takes planning. You have to figure out what you plan on writing, then decide what will go in which chapter. You have to brainstorm and get your broad ideas on paper. Starting to write a book requires the ability to see the big picture. Once you've sketched a basic plan of action you can actually start writing.



One week in Lao and all I’ve done in the book writing department is write out a preliminary sketch. Writing a book takes determination and commitment. The one problem with having an inspiring location to write is that the location is so peaceful, beautiful, and serene that all you want to do is sit and relax.

The only way to get a book written is to schedule my day. The sun sets at 6PM and rises at 6AM. The bugs come out at sunset and being out in the middle of nowhere means that it gets quite dark. No light pollution out here.

My schedule should go something like this. Out of bed by 7am. One hour of meditation. Breakfast. Watch nature for a while. Gather my thoughts. Document my thoughts. Take a break. Watch nature again. Write. Lunch. Watch nature. Write. Do research (reading). Break. Write. Supper. Watch sun set. Go indoors. Watch movie. Read. Bed by 9PM.

Now that’s the plan on days that I stay at the resort. The days I go into town will be, shopping, chatting with Nao, helping Nao with computer problems, find Nao a husband, go for a massage, eat, drink and be merry.

Yes, being an author is tough work. The only downside at this time is that my kids are so far away. Other than that, I am living in Paradise and being well taken care of by a rich Lao woman.

During the past week I’ve spent 800,000 kip, about $100. The breakdown is as follow: 120,000 kip for tuk-tuk, 300,000 for initial groceries purchase, 80,000 for massage for 2 (more on that later), 40,000 for local SIM card and top-up, 50,000 for a hoodie/sweater (much colder at night at the resort than expected), and the remainder for restaurant food. Outgoing text messages are 1.25 cents each and phone calls in are free. Haven’t figured out the cost of outgoing calls yet.

At this rate I can live here for less than $500 per month. Though, we cannot forget the value of what I’m getting for free. A room/bungalow goes for $75 per night. Probably a little cheaper on a monthly basis if I had to pay. I’ve also had a few meals and drinks provided by Nao and Phet (proper spelling though it sounds like Pit).

Since my posting last Thursday I’ve done the following. Finished reading a novel, The Last Templar, by Raymond Khoury. Watched one movie, that took all week, because the TV kept on dying after being on for 10 minutes (overheats, or something else wrong in the circuitry). Watched a spider spin its web for over an hour. Observed the butterflies fluttering about. Watched the fisherman catch fish. Just sat and watched nature. It’s all just so peaceful.

Nao and Phet came over on Friday night. Nao brought me two white roses, candles, incense and her computer. Looks like she wants me to be her resident computer expert. You see, my accommodations do come at a price. Friday night was spent trying to fix the "K" key that she broke than glued back on and really screwed things up. I also had to get her Skype working, but without internet that wasn’t working. Phet fell asleep shortly after arriving as she was up early for work and Nao had kept her up till after midnight the night before.

Nao had called her son, who is staying at the resort, to bring his USB internet air card. At 11PM she was quite upset with him when he didn’t show up with it (he wasn’t at the resort at the time) and decided to go back to town. Nao insisted that Phet stay at the resort and doesn’t wake her. Yes, Nao is playing match-maker. She wants to make sure that Phet and I “hook-up”. Shortly after Nao leaves with one of her security guards on a motorbike Phet wakes-up. She’s quite upset with Nao and calls her. Phet is stuck at the resort till morning. There are 7 empty bungalows.

Phet and I get to chat. Early Saturday morning Nao calls Phet and tells her to make sure that I go back to town with her. We head to town and have breakfast, than go see Nao. Nao is in her office. I have to get her computer operating properly, set up a new Skype account for her, and add photos to her Facebook account. I noticed on Facebook a photo a friend of hers posted that was taken a couple years ago when she met this guy in Cambodia. He writes under the photo of him and her, “Northern Laos’ Donald Trump”. I think Nao is holding out on me as to how much property she actually does own.

After a couple of hours of computer work I am ready to leave. But Nao insists I do more on her Skype and Facebook accounts. She’s confused about their purposes. She thinks they’re dating websites as she’s looking for a husband. I say no, that I’ll come back and set up a proper dating website profile if that is what she really wants. I guess she figures that since she’s playing cupid between me and Phet that I have to repay the “favour” and find her a husband.

I have some shopping to do and really need a massage as my neck has been killing me for months. The flights to Asia haven’t helped. Phet decides to join me. After the massages we go shopping for the things I need at the resort. We’re walking down one street when someone calls out to Phet. Some friends. They ask her if I’m her boyfriend. She replies, yes.

Now that was quick. Week one in Lao and I already have a girlfriend.

Saturday night I go shopping at the night market for a sweatshirt and some t-shirts. Phet went out for supper with her roommates as one had just had a birthday. Sunday I started brainstorming. Not about my book, but about investment opportunities. Mostly about the resort. Nao has something up her sleeve. She wants to talk to me an  Phet about running the resort, I think. Phet is already a part owner in a 12 unit bungalow complex in town and almost purchased the land next to the resort to build a restaurant but she didn’t have the cash when she needed it and then the owners doubled the price when she had saved up the original asking price.

I’m not sure about my future here in Lao (it’s wait and see with Phet) but I do see the upside in investing here. Global markets are fluctuating wildly these days and Luang Prabang, and Lao in general, is an emerging market with high returns available. Maybe my book writing will be put on hold for a while. I have some potential investors to contact.

Oh right! This being a travel blog. Come to Luang Prabang. Stay at The Bakery Guest house or Vang Ngern River Resort. The Lao people are all very friendly and the sights are amazing. Besides, you just might meet your Dream Girl, or Guy!
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