New Kid on the Blog

Consider yourself warned. There will be more bad wordplays with ’80s references masquerading as titles for my posts. And sometimes I might even sneak them into the posts themselves! I’m tricky that way!
Now that that little bit of housekeeping’s out of the way, here’s a bit about my holiday in Laos which I started posting about the other day.
Some people may be under the impression that it was all about palm trees and swanning around enjoying the sunshine, and even cocktails and moonlit nights (I did warn you about the ’80s references!).

Those people would be wrong, wrong, wrong!!

There was, after all, networking to be done.

OK, so there was not a lot of networking done at this particular Yao village unless you count the network of villagers who spotted this gullible tourist with a major interest in ethnic costume coming and sent out their most authentically dressed old women to charge her a whole $2US to be bundled into an outfit that they probably keep stored in a big box labelled “gullible tourist clothes” for the purpose.

They also sold me the pair of pants that I’m wearing in the photo, which I have no idea how I will style in real life, but seeing as they are still in a box being shipped here with the other 7 kilos of .. um.. research material.. that I purchased, I don’t have to lose sleep over that for a while. (And yes, it is the sort of thing I would stay awake over. I’m deep like that.)
Pretty hilarious that I actually just look like I’m spending the day hanging out with my aunties. Thanks, Asian heritage.

Even the villagers who were not dressed up to fleece tourists managed to profit from my visit. Here I am deep in business negotiations over some embroidered thingos with tassels. I have an inexplicable weakness for tassels. Practically anything could have tassels on it and it will make me stop and consider forking out however much it costs. I’m sure there’s some psychological explanation for this but it probably isn’t a good idea to think about it too much. Anyway, in this case, I didn’t have to do too much thinking about what I could pawn to get my hands on the TASSELLED OBJECTS as each one was something like 50c. Why, oh why, did I only buy TWO of them when they were so cheap!? I must have been somewhat dazed by having just worn massive pom pom ruffs around my neck (see above pic). POM POMS are nearly as good as TASSELLED OBJECTS. Or is it the other way around… oh POM POMS and TASSELLED OBJECTS I LOVE YOU BOTH!!!!

*break for cold shower to get mind off POM POMS and TASSELLED OBJECTS*

…So actually I’ve never had to pawn anything to purchase exotic outfits, but I have trekked for one and a half days, gone without a shower and “slept” in freezing conditions on a mountain top with the aim of getting my hands on some heavenly handicraft. Yes, I really did that! Here’s a photo to prove it. Look how high up a mountain I’ve trekked! Just imagine how sore my legs were! Don’t I look remarkably cheerful considering? Probably because I was thinking about POM POMS. Or TASSELLED OBJECTS.

Unfortunately though, the people in the Akha village that the trek took us to didn’t seem interested in flogging any of their wares, or even have anything to sell. Dammit, why did I not ask the trekking company before I signed up for three days of having to wear the same clothes!? I did get a few photos of the women’s headwear though, to drool over later, and some photos of the cute kids who we read stories to
thanks to some picture books that I bought at
Big Brother Mouse.
I’m the first to admit that I’m not a huge fan of children, but I AM a big fan of reading, and the kids seemed to enjoy us reading to them, probably because they don’t get stories read to them very often. I suppose with no radio, TV, or internet, sweaty tourists who speak no Akha or even Lao and are making amusing animal noises and strange gestures really ARE the most entertaining thing in the village! Plus, I gave all the little girls some bangles and embroidery thread that I had bought from the
Salvos, so I suppose they had to at least pretend to be interested in us for a while.

And if you’ve read up until here, you’ve done a pretty good job of pretending to be interested too.
Your reward is me signing off for now. Time for bed, with visions of pom poms dancing through my head.