The oddest foreigner you've met here -- share your story


How it counted 888 unread messages is beyond me, but cute :laughing:

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the “ok了” response in the WeChat thread he shows fucking killed me

On another topic, I enjoyed the constant record scratching of fast forwarding sound effects he put in. My favorite usage of this was towards the beginning, he fast forwards complete with record scratch, but then he slows it down, sneezes in slow down, and after it returns to normal speed sneezes again, walks with the camera pointed towards really nothing in particular, and then fast forwards again.

Truly, an unconventional approach to editing. Thoroughly enjoyed that.

You’ve arrived. Welcome!

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He’d be normal in the foreigners around Luang Prabang and Namtha. :clown_face: :clown_face:

Pushing his luck more.
There’s a few up

How long has Luang Prabang been sullied by his kind?

Went to Laos in early 2000s. Don’t want to go back as it’ll likely ruin my pristine image of the country back then.

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Same impression here. I would’ve put that more on Vang Vieng than Luang Prabang. Drunk expats with early morning monks would be a good mashup.

Same here too. I went to Luang Prabang and Luang Namtha in early 2014 and early 2015, as well as a few other places in Laos, and I didn’t see anything like that. Even Vang Vieng had been cleaned up considerably by then after a few alcohol/drug-induced tourist deaths.

You could see other changes though, even over that one-year period. Most notable for me were all the extra guesthouses in previously quiet villages like Nong Khiaw and the influence of Chinese investment in the north (completely obliterated hillside forests). I remember the second language on road signs etc. switching from English to Chinese as you move from south to north.

I think Vientiane even got its first Dairy Queen in 2015–2016 or so, and it apparently even has shopping malls now.

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When I went, many of Vientiane’s roads were like the clay courts of French Open. All paved now, I believe.
Renting a motorbike was like U$5 a day

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Yeah, I did that too. I think Vientiane was the first busy city where I rode a motorbike. Probably not the smartest place to learn, but definitely a learning experience. :see_no_evil:

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Wow, that’s mad. When I visited Laos in the 1990’s it felt like stepping onto Endor. Highlights included:

Incorrect maps: towns and roads that were supposed to exist didn’t, and visa versa.

No one had a word of English: but the occasional old person had a few words of Lao sounding tonal French. I learned to count to ten in Lao within five minutes of crossing the border: you had to. There were mysterious recurring ‘my hovercraft is full of eels’ confusions from the only Lao-English dictionary in existence: for example every menu translation in the country included a mysterious menu item called ‘Bobster’.

Crazy things happening: Drunk police waving guns in the restaurant invite you to their table, and start engaging in Maxwell smart type negotiations where they ask for a 100,000 USD bribe that you negotiate down to 1 USD dollar, and then you make a break for freedom on a toilet visit before rushing back to your hotel and pushing the furniture in front of the door in case the drunk policemen come after you. Gunshots heard in the distance later that night.

Even crazier things happening: When I went to the border with vietnam I was the only one who went through the checkpoint, everyone else wandered off into the jungle, some of them carrying large items bigger than themselves on their heads, like superhuman ant people. A guy started walking with me coming up to the border, went through it with me without having his documents checked. Threatened everyone who tried to give me a lift. Then when everyone was gone he stole all my money. Then he put me on a bus. This all happened with the border guards nearby watching it happen. Turns out that was just the prelude though: hour or so later the the bus is in a high speed chase with the police: it was smuggling something contraband by the sack load. Everyone on the bus was crying with fear until they lost the police and unloaded the sacks of stuff. Going through a town I jump off the bus too, the bus driver chases me to collect the money for the bus fare - he hadn’t figured out that my money was all stolen already. I manage to shake him off, phew. Now I have no money and am in a town somewhere in Vietnam’ it’s the TET weekend and I go to a car sales establishment to get drinking water on the pretext of considering a purchase.

Clouds of butterflies: going down the road and it’s like an eclipse, except it’s not an eclipse: it’s a cloud of butterflies.

Sparse menu choices: usually it was either ‘soup’ or ‘sticky rice’ If you asked for other options you would get an infinite repeating cycle of soup? sticky rice?

Taking a poop on a boat: boat was slow, you had to poop over the edge in full view of people on other boats, thankfully with a curtain so at least your fellow passengers on your own boat couldn’t see.

Currency that required a wheelbarrow: local currency functioned as coins for small change: had to use foreign currency unless you had a backpack just to carry the enormous bundles of notes that were required for any transaction.

Seriously relaxed people in slow moving time: everyone was lying around relaxing all the time, and everything took multiple days. Arrive at restaurant, sit down, about an hour later a kid who had been lying in the corner playing guitar gets up and takes your order, then he goes back and plays guitar for another 30 minutes. Then he gets on a bike to go source the ingredients for what you ordered, arrives back with a live chicken and plays some more guitar. Food will arrive some time today.

Houses built out of US cluster bomb casings. And in completely unrelated news: kids missing hands. Also unrelated: unexploded ordinances getting blown up at fixed times during the day like a sort of bomby cathedral bell. Oh and don’t step off the path unless you are wearing the bomb clearing body Armour. (Thanks America!)

The land of children: everyone was like ten years old. Like throngs of kids everywhere, some of them carrying smaller kids. Occasionally you would encounter an adult. As you exited the cloud of butterflies typically there would be a cloud of children shouting hello hello, followed by bye bye bye bye

Buses that skim unnervingly close to the cliff edge, it would never fall off though right? Look down, what’s all smashed up at the bottom of the cliff? That’s right, a bus, and it looks just like this one.

Walking dead opium addicts. Every small town had at least one guy lying there looking like a corpse: a sort of grey pallor to the skin. It made other afflictions look like fun. Opium.

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I first went to Vang Vieng when it was a backpacker madhouse in 2009. Every single restaurant played Family Guy or Friends all day long because thats what they thought westerners wanted to watch. Some had the special menus with items like opium tea, magic mushroom shakes and joints. They’d promptly pick up the menus every time the police were on patrol. I heard if you got caught it was a straight march to the ATM.

The main attraction was drunken tubing or kayaking down the river with multiple stops along the way. The stops had bars, mud wrestling pits, rope swings and slides that launched you into the river. I’m guessing that’s where the tourist deaths occured.

Cafe playing Friends

“Special Menu”

Local boys jumping off a bridge

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It was a crazy time in 2000. We were going from Namtha to Phongsali to do Mekong speedboats from the high mountains to Luang Probang.

They found Amphetamines on the minibus, so all of us were taken into the police station. Will never forget the bathroom in that cop station—overflowing with feces.

A gap-toothed comandante came about an hour later. Mentioned “it was local” and we were on our way.

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I once met a foreigner who had to pay a family mart 10k for giving the cashier the finger. He also got fined for not wearing a mask multiple times during covid.

Right. I was among the first tourists into Laos when the border reopened in 1989. The people were so poor they were trading chickens and ducks for detergent and tooth paste. Crossed at Nong Khai to Vientiane. There were no buses. Only way to get to VV was hitch on trucks. There was no real accommodation in VV, we slept in the old town hall. Had to use French to communicate. Rebel groups were still around so officially we weren’t supposed to leave VT. It was a hell of an eye opener.

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I always wanted to go there every time I was in the area, but I never found the time for it (“in the area” meaning a 12+ hour sketchy bus ride each way, even from Luang Prabang). I’m wanting another trip back to Laos now!

It was the same when I went there in 2015 haha.

That’s the beauty of it. 12 Hour tuk tuk ride on the way up, 1 hour speed boat on the way down. What an adrenalin rush!!!

I did the slow boat from Huay Xai to LP one time, but those speed boats looked a bit too reckless for me haha (and they do sometimes crash).

I’ve been reading this too many times lately. Guys, if you’re not sure how to use it, then just don’t do it. Ultimately it will backfire^^
There is no prize for “most intelligent sounding expressions.”

image

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I wrote that in a 10 minute coffee charge. I had a whole bunch of typos and fixed the ones that the spell check picked up only. But yea the map I had - a pretty official looking one - had towns and roads and stuff in the wrong place.

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So I’m thinking about testing the waters on the public insults law. I’m planning to walk into a police station, drunk, then give a police officer the finger while calling him a cunt with a small dick. What do you think?