- Wednesday, December 29, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
For those worrying about me who haven't heard from me recently, I was not affected by the earthquake. Laos is landlocked and far enough from the epicentre so I didn't feel anything here.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have visited Phuket just over 3 weeks ago and not now. I can't also help but wonder about all the incredibly nice and friendly people I met living there. Most of them I never knew their names so I will likely never know who survived and who didn't.
# Posted 1:57 AM (1) comments
- Tuesday, December 21, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Random Thought
Okay I have no real news to post so I thought I'd post a random thought.
The other day it occured to me why is sliced bread considered the pinnacle of human achievement? All other (recent) achievements are compared to it. Think about it, how often do people say that something is the greatest thing since sliced bread?
Granted, sliced bread can be kind of good but seriously, was it really such an achievement? I took a fair number of history classes in University and I can't say I remember sliced bread as being mentioned as bringing forth the renaisance, enlightenment, industrial revolution, or the modern era let alone any other major epoch in human civilization.
Was Guttenburg inspired to create movable type (note, not the printing press which had already been invented by the Chinese)? We know Newton thought of the theory of gravity because an apple fell on his head but maybe he had enough time to sit under and apple tree because he wasn't wasting all his time slicing bread.
As far as I can tell sliced bread's contribution to society has mainly been saving us a minute or two and helped reduce the risk of kitchen injuries. A decent minor contribution but hardly the foundations of a modern civilization. Perhaps though this is really a reflection of the modern world. Maybe most modern achievements are really pretty minor and can, at best, only be compared to sliced bread.
That's it for now, hopefully more interesting news will follow shortly.
# Posted 10:04 PM (0) comments
- Tuesday, December 14, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- My Brief Career As A Burglar
Somehow, yesterday I managed to be locked out of my house not once but twice. The first time was pretty straight-forward, we only had 1 key for the house and Hamid had it but I got home before he did so I was locked out. Fortunately, the landlady was home and after briefly examining the possibility of breaking in, I went to her house and got a key for myself. We were given 2 keys for the house when we moved in but one of them was a bad copy so that's why we had a problem.
The second time was a lot stranger. Now possessing my keys everything should have been okay. What happened though was some people came over so we had the front door open. I went out with one of the people to get something from their car and then came back through the front door so my shoes were by the front door. After the people left, I decided to go out for supper. Since my shoes were by the front door I went out that way. The front door has a lock where you push in the button on the handle inside before you close the door to lock it. I did this and went outside. I then realised that I had forgotten my jacket and it was getting cold out so I wanted to get it. I also realised that I had forgotten to check if the kitchen door was locked. So, I went back to the kitchen door. That door was locked so I unlocked it. However, it turns out that someone had also bolted the door from the inside, so I couldn't open the door even though it was unlocked. To make matters worse, we didn't have a key for the front door so I was stuck outside. This time the landlady wasn't home so I spent about an hour trying to evaluate my options for breaking in. After working on both doors for awhile I ruled out those options. I made then made a brief attempt to break in through a window. The windows all swing out and Hamid hadn't locked his so that was a good start. However, there is then a set of bars to get past before the screen. Sometimes these are very badly installed but our house has pretty secure bars. After giving up on that attempt I was starting to evaluate the feasibility of getting onto the roof and attempting to get in through the kitchen's skylight when the landlady finally came by and was able to go to her house and get the key to the front door (which I now have). It turns out that when she came over to visit she had bolted the kitchen door.
# Posted 2:39 AM (0) comments
- Sunday, December 12, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- New Digs
This last week has been completely crazy. I got back from Phuket on Sunday. Then went back to work on Monday. On Tuesday I found out that our rent contract was up this month and the landlord wanted to raise the rent to $300 US a month and that he didn't want to rent it for just 3 months but wanted at least a 6 month commitment. I get the feeling that this has been prompted by some other problems between CUSO and the landlord but I really don't know the situation and getting info has been really tough. On Wednesday it was confirmed that we had to move and our rent was only paid up until the weekend so we had to be out of the house by Sunday.
Thursday and Friday were the CUSO Lao AGM which was held in Vang Vien which is about 160km outside of town (which means it can take anywhere from 3-7hrs to get there). Vang Vien was really nice and we stayed at a really cool hotel/resort outside of town near some of the caves in the mountains. I got to go cave swimming one day which was a definite highlight. It was also really cool to finally meet most of the other cooperants working in Lao. I plan to try to visit Michael in Xagnabouly and Anita and Joe in Salavan although the transportation time is a bit of an issue.
I got back to Vientiane on Saturday around 2pm and instantly got thrown into the middle of preparing for the move. Fortunately a lot of the CUSO people helped out and that made a big difference with dealing with a lot of the stuff from the house. Bounlanh (the cooperant placement assistant) helped us a lot because she knew of a house that she had cooperants from VSO stay at when she worked there. The house isn't as fancy as the house we had but it feels a lot cosier and I like the neighbourhood better. The one downside is we don't have a TV but we're going to talk to the landlord and see if we can work something out.
We moved Saturday night so it was pretty hectic. Today I've been looking around the new neighbourhood a bit and it is nice, there's a huge market really close to us and I think I'm a bit closer to work too which is really nice. Plus the landlord is really nice and is still working on fixing up the house more for us.
# Posted 6:37 AM (0) comments
- Monday, December 06, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Phuket Was Phuking Awesome!
Okay, that’s not the way you actually pronounce Phuket. The h is silent the same as in Thailand. I don’t know why both Thai and Lao use all these h’s that you never pronounce but they both do it all the time.
Phuket was a really good time. I only got to spend 3 nights there because of being sick at the beginning of the holiday but I still managed to hit a few beaches, go SCUBA diving, go parasailing, get a suit made, and eat tons of Thai seafood. I stayed in a nice small town called Kamala on the west coast of Phuket Island.
SCUBA diving was definitely the highlight of the trip. I went on a 2 dive intro trip. I went to a nearby island called Ko Weo. It was just the instructor and myself besides the 2 Thai people working the boat which was really good. The first dive was okay but the 2nd dive was a lot better. First of all, I had a lot better sense of how to control my buoyancy so I didn’t need as much help. The other thing was that we went to the other side of the island and I think there were more things to see on that side. I saw so many cool fish. I saw a lot of clown fish (like from Finding Nemo) and a huge school of yellow snapper that just looked like a cloud of yellow from a distance but once you got closer you could see hundreds of fish and swim with them.
The suit was also a bit of an experience. At first I felt a bit bad about being sort of conned into going into one of the tailor shops and buying a suit. However, I did manage to get a good price (about $130 CAD for a 2 piece suit, silk shirt and 2 silk ties) and the quality is good and it fits me perfectly. Somehow the tailors are able to make a complete suit for you in a day, I went in at lunchtime on Thursday and they had my suit finished on Friday around 6pm.
So all in all it was a really fun trip. My main complaint is that I didn’t have enough time in Phuket because it was so nice. I am definitely planning to go back for a longer trip.
# Posted 1:36 AM (0) comments
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