Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Don Det - The Lost Chronicles

Wow... Feels like it was a lifetime ago for some reason... But it was not even 2 months ago that I was taking a small wooden boat packed full of backpackers, the heart full of melancholy, leaving my little paradise island towards Nagasan, where I would catch a ''VIP'' bus for about 20 hours, all the way to Bangkok, in company of Constantine, a German dude that was chilling with us at One More Bar.

Today I found my little notebook of scribbles from my stay on Don Det. As promised (if you read my stuff written in french), time to shed some light on my 3 months-stay in the 4000 islands region, province of Champasak.

The first notes were written after I read a few pages of a book written by a Buddhist monk, over one of many hungover breakfasts with a new acquaintance. It was her book, and I was digesting in a hammock conveniently set up between two tables right in the restaurant over-looking the Mekong river, a nice breeze helping us ignore the imposing hot temperature of the country. She was checking up on her messages using the Laos-speed Wi-Fi.

It made me want to write again. So, after about a month of absence, later that day I dug out a pen and a notebook from the pile of my limited possessions lying on the floor of my bamboo bungalow, and set out to write - with a Beerlao, music in my ears, sitting on the floor mats of One More Bar.

Here is the text, with some corrections and add-ons (When I handwrite, I become impatient since I'm too slow and I often skip words or whole sentences)

When you see these *** it means the end of the text from that day.

''Today is Sunday''

Not that different days of the week make a marginal difference in my daily life here on Don Det, but on Sundays I make poutine.

So, on Sundays I rent a bike and pedal over to King Kong Bar on one of the two roads following the river (sunrise side), where I order two liters of gravy that I will come pick up with Ken and his scooterbike before sunset. We put the gravy in a juice jug and I hop on the back of the seat, making sure not to spill any as Ken negotiates the tiny sand road back to One More Bar.

My fucking chain kept on coming undone. By the fourth time I was swearing. On the fifth, as I was putting it back on impatiently, muttering to myself. I hear ''Bo Pa Nyan''. I look up and see a Laos man missing an arm, smiling at me.

There really are worst things in life than a skipping bike chain.

I gave the man an apologetic smile, gave him the joined hands salute as I said ''Sabaïdee!'', and left.

I was still infuriated by the eleventh time the chain came undone. This, however, gave me cause to ponder. Why should I let this minimal complication unnerve me? After all, I still had both my arms. All of my limbs were present and intact, in fact.

I tried to find good things to retain from this experience and found one: it took me seconds now to put the chain back on. By the 13th time I was in all respect, an expert. By the 14th time I was a zen master.

On the 16th time it all came crashing down on me as I fought the temptation to throw the bike in the adjacent river. I looked for something positive again and found rejoice in anger instead. Motivated, I used the excess energy to pedal faster.

I can't remember if I was wearing my Yoda shirt.

Certain emotions are addictive.


Hahahaha! I was obviously influenced by that Buddhist book I read over breakfast that day.

The following page is covered with chaotic pen markings, the art of Baringa. (Read my previous post about having to take care of her randomly). I kept it because it helps me remember what my days were like. She was probably dumped on my lap and grabbed the pen instantly, started imitating me and drew on the notebook as I laughed.

Well my friends, this is all I will be writing today as well. I like to keep the posts short, because I tend to lose my train of thoughts (if you haven't noticed), I am lazy, and am working on something else as well.

Sabaïdee = Good day/Hi
Bo Pa Nyan = No worries (kinda)

My writing spot. From the glass of water I can deduce that it was probably in the last month as I was struggling to stay hydrated