Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day off but not really..

Taking my day off to finish up some things around the house. My travel to Laos/Asia packing list is done. I am pleasantly surprised that it is only 2 pages long (slightly less than 2 complete pages). Of course, this means that I do anticipate buying stuffs while I am there. Besides, from the description of my volunteer package as well as the nature of my visit to Cambodia and Vietnam, 2 pages may be too much. Luang Prabang, Laos, the place where I will be volunteering, is a World Heritage city. Which means that there will be tons of tourists. Tourists mean higher prices than other places, avoiding streets where half-lost people totting massive cameras with lenses a mile long, and well, pick-pockets. It is funny but I used to be one of those. Now, I refuse to visit places as a stereotypically tourist. How snobbish of me, but I find that touristy cities are almost all the same. Similar craft shops, similar sorts of restaurants, and similar way locals treat you. So, if I go somewhere, I would rather not look like a tourist. In a way though, one truly never escape doing it, as any where you go for the first time, you will have that deer-staring-at-the-headlights effect.

From what I have read of the "amenities" that will be afforded to me by *** volunteering program, this trip to Laos will be a physically-inconvenience breeze. My own room with a bathroom with a running toilet and hot shower? I guess for one month, with the exception of self-motivated trips to remote areas, I will essentially be staying at a hotel. I am not such a big fan of doing that as I like the experiential volunteer atmosphere. I am pretty sure that most Laotian do not live in similar conditions as how I will be living. My trip to Uganda was special in part because we lived closer to what some people in Iganga lived (ok, those that are more spoiled). Also, there were not many tourists or foreigners where we were (may be 10-20 in a town of a few hundred thousands?). Well, when I say foreigners, I did not count Indians or Chinese as there were tons of them around.
So today, I am finally getting myself ready for Asia. I am not excited about it as I was with Uganda. There is a slight nervousness but I know that once I land in Cambodia, after an hour or so, that anxiety will dissipate. Hmmm, perhaps I am more anxious about the gropping sessions while at the airports....

Also, I am vigorously freshening up my English grammar. Each night, while in Laos, I will be teaching English to the locals for 2 hours. God help them. A transplanted Vietnamese American educated by the American inner-city school system, teaching them about English grammar. I will try my best to not butcher their learning experiences.

13 days...

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