happy birthday, america

This was my first real weekend in Vientiane totally on my own.  I actually had completely forgotten it was the 4th of July weekend until I read an e-mail from my mom.  Around the same time, I got an e-mail from my neighbor, an Australian, who invited me to a 4th of July party held by the US Embassy at the Vientiane Swimming Pool.  I was really excited about the prospect of meeting some anglophones and celebrating my nation’s birthday so I agreed to go, even though Ariya, my neighbor, could only stay for about an hour. 

Overall, it was a dissapointement.  The whole event was a little strange.  It was mostly old white men and their younger (but still older than me) Lao wives and children.   So I didn’t really get to make any friends, but I did talk to the ambassador, who is a pretty awesome guy.  He did Peace Corps Senegal back in the 60’s, and has worked all over, Burkina Faso, Niger, Indonesia, etc.

Me & Ravick, the US Ambassador to Laos
Me & Ravick, the US Ambassador to Laos

He also read a letter, written by our current president, to Americans around the world, that included some line about America being “the greatest country in the world”, which I think I actually laughed out loud after hearing, which may or may not have alienated me from my fellow Americans present at the event.   But there was a bbq, with burgers and hot dogs!  They played the antional anthem, and we stood, which for me was the first time in I don’t know how many years.  I think the last time was probably when I went to a Sox game in 2006.  I did talk to one girl, who is just in town for a few weeks, and we’re going to have dinner tomorrow,  but surprisingly the whole affair was a lot less classy than simmilar events I attended in Benin.  The American community in Laos is actually really small, it would seem.

I love America!
I love America!

Anyway, I didn’t stick around too long after Ariya left, since I haven’t been feeling too sociable lately and there was hardly anyone between the ages of 18 and 40 present.  However, I did enjoy talking to my neighbor a lot, who was a Lao refugee who moved to Australia when he was 10, and then at 30 decided to come back to Asia.

This afternoon I went to lunch at my friend Sisavanh’s house.  She is a lady I work with, who is doing a Masters degree in TEFL, and always asks me to correct her homework.  So, I basically invited myself to her house, in a round-about way, in exchange for all of the help I give her.   I was expecting just a small lunch with her family, but it turned out to be a huge party, with her husband’s cousin from Las Vegas, and about 20 other people.  I was hoping to see some Lao cooking in action, and help out, but instead they just kept serving me drinks and chatting, but I did learn how to make sticky rice.  I asked them if they had ever eaten dog, and no one would admit to it!  But I did get them to promise to take me sometime to eat dog, and drink Lao whisky.

I actually had an extremely productive weekend, I did laundry and got a bunch of house hold goods, including: two plates, two bowls, two spoons, two forks, a tea cup, a knife, and a cutting board, and a lamp, among other things.  So my house is starting to seem more like a real house, and with the air conditioning, I hardly want to leave.  Still no stove or pots and pans, but that is next on the list.


3 thoughts on “happy birthday, america

  1. We missed you on the 4th. But I’m sure our amount of beer consumption wasn’t as cool as meeting ambassador’s and junk.


  2. Lao lao (sp?)and blood is the other thing I know about Laos. Let me know how it is?

    How does one make sticky rice, that is the thing about Laos I have wanted to know for years but had no clue. Is it normal rice but cooked differently, or is it a special kind of rice cooked in a special way?

    Apparently it doesn’t spoil as quickly as other rice, making it good to take into the field if you are working on a farm (other rice wouldn’t last, or so I have been told).

  3. So where did you end up getting plates and junk? And where the hell are you going to get a stove? Maybe you should have an affair with the ambassador. He looks pretty hunky. BTW, that party sounded hillarious. You must have been like “WTF. Worse. Party. EVER!”

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