Monday, 25 February 2013

Laos et un au-revoir

For those if you still checking in and wondering why I stopped writing, here goes.

As early as the 2nd grade, my french teachers were telling me that I should consider becoming a writer.

I've always been very very lazy at it but it's been part of my life since those highschool nights where I'd be grounded in my room, writing lyrics about Aryane, skateboarding, and anachy.

My mind has been constantly motivated since on Don Det, and two days ago I started working at a little dream/life-project I've had in mind for a while now.

So, do not despair. This is a long-term project, but you and me, it's not over. You'll get to glimpse into my psyche like the telepathic pervert that you are faster than you know.

Only, I've always wanted to write and publish a book (comic book, photography, novel) and the blog was meant to motivate me and help find my writing style - to get me started.

Anthony's mom told me that I write with my guts, which I think describes it very well.

Now that I am somewhat comfortable pouring my bowels on paper I intend to document my life on Don Det, my reactions to events that transpire here - western style of living versus eastern - and how can I elevate my consciousness.

If my plans work, I should be here for 2 years on and off. If everything goes as planned (it never does) there will be a book self-released by Étienne Bureau-Brousseau in 3 years, and I want every dedicated reader/friend of Une Bière de Route to get a free copy.

Until then,


Live slow

Friday, 15 February 2013

Encore plus de belles gens

Arno, le français le plus cool que j'ai rencontré. Il vient de Stratsbourg, pro du canöe, la meilleure attitude au monde. On s'est tappé une belle soirée québécoise, Cowboys Fringants et Colocs avec la poutine.

Il y avait aussi toute sa troupe, une vrai légion française de détraqués relax qui se la déchirent chaque soir.

Cédric aurait dut être là. Il aurait aimé le Beru qu'on s'est tappé sur l'île.

Laos, Don Det, l'amour de ma vie, et plus encore

Hey there you, yes you, beautiful.

I know I haven't been around much lately, but you see, I found a place I can call home for a while, and I've just been busy taking it all in.

The sun.
The locals.
The friends.
The Beerlao.
The Lion King whiskey.
The love.

Not sure I can recap everything but hey, let's try.

I left Kratie, its dolphin, and Ben & Jen  to catch a shitty shitty bus going on a shitty shitty road for a few shitty shitty hours. I was hungover though, so I slept most of the way, which is ridiculous when you've seen the roads.

I arrived in Laos at around 10, and at 11 I was on Don Det. Mind you, I only arrived there because it was the only Laos destination sold in my guesthouse and I was too lazy to go look around. So, total chance.

Within an hour I was floating on a tube in the Mekong river with 10 strangers, and another hour later I had a spliff as long as my forearm in my mouth, about to rape that Sunday Roast with proper gravy smeared all over it.

I was feeling right at home.

The first thing you see when you arrive in Don Det is a tiny beach with some litter from the party of the night before, and a huge water buffalo cooling down in the river. If it's really hot, only his nose sticks out of the water. Then you start the trekk under a blazing sun with 15 kgs of crap on your back to find a nice guesthouse. Mine was on the sunrise side, with a hammock to chill, and a toilet about 20 seconds away, outside... Which would prove dangerous in a few days.

When you are woken up by a need to horizontal-shit your organs out of you, that walk is incredibly painful and nightmarish.

The second day I was just walking around on sunset side and stumbled upon a place called One More Bar. Made entirely of wood, it has a Feng Shui feel to it, and the red red sun sets perfectly in the middle of two posts. I had to stop and watch. And eat. And drink. And meet people.

After 3 nights in Don Det, 2 of which were spent at One More Bar, I was talking to myself about should I stay or should I go. Panya, a cambodian girl working there, said that I should stay because I'm fun, and asked the owner, Mr. Ken, if I could work here.

His answer was: Why not?

I have only heard Mr. Ken say no 3 times. One of these times was when we were invited to a Laos wedding and Alex asked if he could go in his old ran-down swimming shorts.

The rest of my time here becomes a blur, a fast-paced action scene of friends, partying, bike rides, swimming, beers, flirting, guitar by the fire, hangovers, hammock chilling, and eating.

I have met so many great people, many of which I will never get to meet again. It's very hard to say good-bye sometimes.

Ben and Jen came and stayed for 10 days (thanks for the mohawk Jen).
Anthony and Catherine also came by and got stuck (thanks for the beard cut Cat).
Alex was an american that had been there for 3 months and showed Ken how to make pizza in the wood-fire oven. He was really nice and took good care of the dog Sandy (also called Wormy).
Jesse was a Sasktachewan dude who loved to dance and hug people, and folk music. We really got along.
Kiren and Becca were fucking hilarious.
Shane was an irish man with a great singing voice, him and his friend played songs all night and we all had a jolly ol' time.
Elisa, as sweet as anyone can be, redeemed the vision I had of australians.
Mathew and Arron, two english men with good hearts and bottomless stomachs.

Ken, who treats me like a brother.

Last but not least, Mariela.

It's hard to describe the mood of the island. The locals are fucking great and start drinking at 8. All the tourists that come here are the ones seeking a little bit of rest from all the partying and moving around. It makes for a very chilled out place.

I have a theory, that there is a miniature black hole under the island, that is why everyone gets sucked in. Also, the gravity is intensified, and so that's why it's hard to stay vertical for so long.

Let's try to give you an example of my typical day.
I wake up at 7am and get in the boat with Ken, and we go to the market to buy the food we need for the night.
I eat Fuh (noodle soup) with the locals and joke about my beard and hair and tattoos.
Sandy (the dog) comes with us but doesn't leave with us. She makes her own way back.
I usually then go eat a snack and chill at the bar with the friends I made the night before.
We shoot the shit until around noon and then we go eat.
Depending on the motivation, we grab bikes, go over to Don Khon where I know a nice swimming place and a rock where we can jump from.
Back at sunset, time to start working, which consists of waitering for very relax people while I drink beer and dance around with my friends, and we make even more friends.
Usually ends with drinking games.
If I'm not too tired I head out to the beach where we lay in the sand and chat to acoustic guitar.

Sometimes I have to take care of Balinga, Ken's daughter. Sometimes I play with Soun, a 4-year old girl with the prettiest smile I've ever seen - it's ridiculous. Sometimes I try to catch a 10-year old girl who's always running everywhere. Sometimes we organise a little beach party, get in the boat with beers and tubes and go over to the sandy island (with Sandy) and pole-vault over tubes with a bamboo branch. Sometimes I just do nothing.

Like, nothing.

I just like, lay there, under a fan.

Ken has offered to help me with local paperwork if I ever want to build a house or open a business, and I have been thinking about very hard every day. In fact I can't nap in the day anymore, because I think too much.

I also think about Mariela a little bit too much.

And if you're asking yourself, the poutine is fucking great.

Meah, the old nanny that takes care of Balinga while she chews red bark, makes homemade fries. I cut big squares of New-Zealand cheddar while Pan cooks chicken. The gravy, I bought during the day from King Kong bar, held by englishmen. Ken drives me on his scooterbike and I hold the juice jug carefully while we make our way through the island.

It's time to go. The sun is setting, there's a karaoke party next door, and I'm hungry. I also offered free pizza to a guy I knew in Pai that can play guitar. There's a Leandre here, a quebecois from St-Jerome with a fucking great moustache and he's been downing shotguns of beercans since 11 am.

I love you all and miss you. I might come back to Montreal for a summer job and sort out a few paperworks, see if I can live in Laos for a year or two...