Whatever ambitious travel goals I had for the next week are pretty much shot by this town being so much fun. Yesterday it rained almost all day long, but a friend and I rented mountain bikes and rode around in the rain all day, looking for a lagoon to go swimming at. We went down the main road until it hit the river, at which point we had to cross by being taken by a long, narrow boat. The boat is about 15 feet long and maybe 2.5 feet wide and is powered by a man standing at the rear with a hand on a bamboo stick attached to the motors directional fin. With three of us and a pair of bikes on the boat it sank down in the water until the side of the boat was only two inches above the water surface, not really keeping water from splashing in. We made it across and rode for about an hour through a small village and a long stretch of dirt road surrounded on both sides by vast rice paddies, as far as you could see.

The colors were incredible – I was looking to the sides almost the entire time. We arrived an hour later, my hands hurting from clenching the wet handlebars while going through mud and water and over stones and branches. The lagoon was almost like a pond, except the most memorable part was the color of the water. Had I ever seen a lagoon before? I don’t know. The water is a bright indigo color though, not like anything that I can remember having seen before. The water was cold and clean, carried a strong current, and led into a cave in the side of a mountain. We were able to swim inside about 20m before it got too dark to see and swimming into sharp rocks became a hazard.

Last night I was in the outdoor restaurant outside of my bungalow where I met Sean sitting across from a guy of about fifty with a young Lao girl. I didn’t know who he was, and the scene was a little strange. Come to find that he’s from Australia and the young local girl is his friend that he sent up to meet him in this city. No further questioning necessary on that. After we finish the meal the guy gets up and is like OKAY LETS PARTY. Right, so, he’s insistent on going the disco in town. The disco here is kind of like Meet the Feebles – like it somehow acquires some kind of good quality from being so mind-blowingly bad. I leave quickly and go to the bar a few doors down where they manage to attract all the solo travelers.

Here’s how this place works: they don’t have seats or tables, but it’s like Japanese-style, take your shoes off and sit on an elevated seating place. They have one of these outside and they employ about 15 people who hang out there all day, rotating as if in shifts. If you walk by alone, like I did, and (like the German guy who was in there last night) they start with some “hey! come here real quick!” shit. They urge you to sit down, hang out, and have a beer and because you have nowhere else to be, why not? Everyone else at the table speaks broken English so I spend most of the time talking with Jong about Germany and traveling around Asia. As I’m sitting there, this local girl starts getting all on me. What I mean is sitting right next to me (INVADING MY BUBBLE), touching me, being talkative without saying much of anything, etc. I don’t know what the game is, and being traumatized by my foreigner-scam in Shanghai a few months ago, I’m friendly but not interested in someone who gets paid to entertain me. We hung out all night though, and she never did any of the things I was waiting for her to do before I could say ‘I knew it’. Maybe this means I’ll grow to be more trusting of strangers again.

It’s drizzly and overcast outside; a good day to be lazy. Places all around here show movies during the day in their outdoor restaurants and lounges, and dozens of people sit around and watch movies or TV all day. Especially popular here is Friends, which to me is incomprehensible. Come to Laos and watch Friends. I came to this place to download Vajra’s new mix, called Saul Good. Vajra, from Boulder Colorado, is maybe my favorite American battle DJ’s of the last five years. He sells it online for $10, but I was hoping to find out if he could upload it online someplace for me since I’m really anxious to hear it. Not only did he put it online for me, but he put it on YouSendIt and made it public for a week. I haven’t even listened to it yet, but I still urge you to download this without hesitation if you like real hip hop. Here’s the link: Saul Good I’m now listening to the Sub Focus breezeblock mix on the Shuffle. It took me a few listenings to even get past the first half of it, since to me, most of it is slightly bland techstep. The second half is better than the first.