"Falang, dey lib dis howd..." My brain works overtime, falang means foreigner so that would translate to be: "Foreigners, they live this house."
The old mans bare pot belly wobbles as we walk slowly in the direction his stubby first finger points. My mission to find the home of a couple who invited me to stay some days earlier has been successful, but they are not home.
An hour or so earlier after a 115 km day I set off the centre of Vientiane to see what I could make of the poorly hand drawn map in my notebook. It wasn't long before I was lost, I had all but given up when a building that could only be of Soviet origin appear, as the Russian Embassy was THE landmark to find on my map, I circled to building to find confirmation. Sure enough this huge monstrosity, perhaps the biggest embassy I have every seen (apart from the US consulate in Istanbul) was, in fact, the Russian Embassy. Right, where to now? An ex-pat couple out with the dog walked me the right road, just 150 m to go according to the map, perfect. Not so easy, I quickly realise that the 3 building on my diagram are in fact 3 of at least 100 house in the street. By now the last light has faded, I must try to call. A girl prepares something on a small wooden table by the roadside, I stop and ask (or point in such a manner) if she's colouring her hair, no, stupid question, she's bleaching her skin. I ask after foreigners, a close examination of my map later and a phone appears, the number is called but no answer. I search myself some more, a motorbike appears next to me and the boy indicates I should go back with him.
The pot bellied man, along with a swarm of kids, appears explaining how he's studied English for 25 years, but has all but forgotten it. I understand something anyway. As I wait, they call the number again and again, a girl tries to explain with less than 5 words of English that her middle aged friend is single if I'm interested? I kindly decline. Finally, I'm taken to another place where a man speaks to me in good English explaining where I should find them, we walk in that direction.
Soon after, we arrive at the house which I thought was it 2 hours before, but wasn't sure. To my disappointment noones' home. I thank the entire street of locals for all their help and bike back towards town. As my eyes become heavy after a long day, I have a huge grin on my face just thinking about how much fun such a small thing, like finding a house, can be.
The photos are in a random order because of a virus I got on my USB key in Thailand.
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