Miller and the Plain of Jars Adventure Part III

The next morning we set out in the mini-bus and headed for The Plain of Jars. There were about 12 of us by now and it seemed a nice group, but my mind was elsewhere…… three guesses where!!!!! 🙂 Yep, like a love sick puppy which has just been deserted by its owner…….. I was feeling sorrier for myself than Eeyor after just losing a pin the tail on a donkey competion with Winnie the Pooh!!!!!!! Fucking soppy bollocks that’s what I was!!!! 🙂 But it was strange……. as the bus continued on its journey, my thoughts were becoming clearer and more concise, and the confusion appeared to be slowly dispelling. It felt like the mist of uncertainty was beginning to clear itself around me.

We arrived at the Site 1 of the Plain of Jars which is the biggest, in terms of area and the size of some of the “exhibits”. The driver gave us a safety briefing before we got out (basically the whole area was full of unexploded bombs and mines, and only the areas between the red/white markers had be demined and were safe. In fact, there were many more sites containing the Jars, but only 3 had been decontaminated). So we got off and bought our entry passes/tickets and walked towards site one. It’s quite picturesque there, with rolling hills and random trees, sometimes in clusters, being dotted about over the hills of green grass. Its almost reminiscent of the Somerset levels and Tors around Glastonbury, except without the patchwork of hedgerows and lanes.

It looked beautiful, but as you looked towards the mountains in the distant, you saw where the lines of thick jungle randomly encroached on the grassland terrain, almost like a waves waiting to devour it, and immediately you realise that the grassland was not the areas natural state…….. bombs had a lot to do with its new look and the land was still in recovery. Laos has the unenviable position of being the worlds most bombed country and standing there taking in the landscape, I could see the evidence and why.

At the entrance of Site 1 there’s an information board about the Jars. Unfortunately, much had been lost and some Jars were blown up or blown out of their original position by all the bombing campaigns. But some human remains had been discovered in or under some of the Jars and it turned out a French female Archeologist had been studying them for over 20 years………yep, that’s over 2 decades Trig 😉 ………. and in that time she’d come to some startling conclusions!!!!!

I tell you what…….. they almost blew ME away when I read them!!!!! She concluded that………. the Plain of Jars were possibly for Religious Purpose and of Ceremonial use!!!!

Fan-fucking-tastic!!!!! Well I’m glad that’s that mystery solved then!!!! 🙂 Get on your plane and fuck off back to France love!!!!!! 😉 I could’ve come to that conclusion in 5 minutes!!!!! Gor Blimey….. so lets get this straight…..she’s done her education in France, gone to all the effort of getting her degree, flown over to Laos, eaten fried rice and vegetables for over 20 years, which is over 2 decades – well I wouldn’t go that far Dave 😉 – and that’s the best she could come up with!!!! What a messer!!!! You can just see the scene now….. of her giving a lecture to a bunch of English Kids………

“So, moi enfants…….. whvat do you tink zthe purpOse of zthe Plain of Jars was?”

“It aint got anything to do with religion has it Miss?”

“Ahhhh…..sacreau bluer!!! I ad no ideya you were alreaDy so learned in zthe loaws of ArkeOlogee”

“Nah miss………. I was just having a laugh, innit”

“Tres bien, moi petit garcon……. but whvat do you tink it was used foar?”

“Err……. didnt have anything to do with ceremonies did it Miss?”

“Je ne comprise pas!!!!! Ow you kno so much? You Engelish bastard!!!! Your mother was a hamster…. and you father smelt of….. elderberries!!!!!” 🙂

Bloody hell, I bet the bird must feel really disappointed with herself!!!! Ok….. well what kind of religion and what kind of ceremony?!!!!! You dont know do you!!!! Why is it whenever archeologists cant explain something, instead of saying they dont know, they always pull that fucking line out of the bag!!!! Leave it in the bag and try being honest……… you bunch of fucking muppets!!!! (the ones that pull that line out of the bag that is!!!!) 😉

And as I walked around, feeling the place, I felt there must have been more significance in the placing of the Jars. I wondered if, like the temples of Angkor representing the star constellation of Draco on the earths surface, maybe the jars were originally set out to reflect the heavens and each persons soul, who may have had their remains put in a particular jar, may have been thought to go to that star after death……… it’ll be their star, almost like today where you can buy the rights to name a star on the internet!!!

It was just a thought, with a bit more imagination and sensation, but it would be difficult to prove now after the septic tanks have done such a remarkable job at re-landscaping the area at a knock down price of $2 million dollars a day!!!!! But maybe, somewhere out there, there were 3 big Jars representing the belt of Orion, like the Pyramids of Giza. Its unlightly you’ll ever know now though……… and I dont fancy spending 20 years on the subject….. 20 minutes was good enough for me!!!!! 🙂 Still, maybe the other theory that the decorated Jars were being made to celebrate the ascension to the throne of one of the Kymer Kings was right…… just like the plates we get of the Queen, with a picture of her “smiling”mug on them!!!! It would be a bit of an effort to get these Jars on your sideboard though!!!! 🙂

Some of them were huge, weighing over a ton, taller than your average man and wider then the Rolly-Pollys…… but not quite as old!!!;-) And you could see on some that at one point they were very well carved and decorated, only now that decoration had all but been eroded away, leaving them looking pretty “plain”. There was one with a broken lid, and as I looked inside I saw a Pepsi can…. that was nice….. obviously a sponsorship deal going on!!!! I tried to grab it to throw it away, but couldn’t reach so had to leave the advertisement in all its spiritual glory….. looked like Pepsi had recruited another star!! ;-). I reckoned that all the Jars must have had lids before and found one half buried in the soil. No doubt the other ones had been half-inched over the years, for building “purposes” and the odd wheel “use”!!!:-)

It was feeling like a spiritual place to me and after a butchers hook around, we re-assembled in the bus and headed off for the second site…… or Site 2 as its officially known!!!…. and when we got out we discovered that we had to pay again for another ticket. Well, the Israelis kicked off at this point (they really weren’t ones for parting with money!!!) informing the guards that, quite rightly, the ticket says entry to The Plain of Jars and doesn’t say any individual site, meaning it gave right of access to all of them so we shouldn’t have to buy another one. There was definitely something moody going on, but I just sat back and let the Israelis deal with it… seeing as they were so apt at getting the best deal!!!! 🙂

But in the end the Israelis lost the battle…… the guard had a gun…… and on this occasion, Israel didnt……….because this time they hadn’t been given funding from the Yanks!!!! 😉 So we all payed up…..except for all the girls. All 6 of them stayed on the bus as they couldn’t be bothered to get out and see any more jars!!….. Apparently they were all “Jarred Out”!!!!!!

What the Fuck?!!!!!! Now the thing is, if you come to see the Plain of Jars…. then you’ve pretty much made a special effort to be there……. its not like they’re just round the corner and you’ve come to have a quick peek!!!! It’s a fucking mission to get there!!! And quite frankly, after traveling all that way…. I wanted see as many Jars as possible!!!!! The more the merrier!!!! Bring on the Jars I say!!!!….even if they’re plain!!!!! 🙂

And that’s another thing….. what is there to be disappointed about? Its not like the Plain of Jars is selling itself as something its not………. they’re a bunch of jars…. and they’re plain!!!!! What the fuck did you expect?!!!! Its not like its says on the map “Plain of Jars with Fun Fair and Side-show attractions” and when you get there you’re disappointed the fun fairs not there, so you ask a copper “Where the fucks the Rollercoaster……and the side shows?!!!” and he says “Ahh, you just missed them, we had move them on…….they were making a terrible mess”.

Jarred fucking out, I ask ya!!!! I tell you what…. The Plain of Jars is like Ronseal Varnish…. it does exactly what it says on the tin!!!!!!! Muppets…. the lot of em!!!! But it was their choice I guess….. a victory for freewill….with a lack of appreciation coming in a close second!!!!!! 🙂 So us guys all went on, climbing the hill to site 2, which was surrounded with trees and felt a lot more special and personal then site 1. It was nice. And then we returned to the bus to face the inevitable questions from the girls….”Was it nice?…Was it worth seeing?”… “Yes and yes”…. and then we headed for site 3.

I remembered Rory had said that this one was the best of the lot, so I waited in anticipation to see if he was right, and just as we got there the rest of the guys (apart from Owen) announced that they were “Jarred out” too and couldn’t be arsed to walk to it, preferring to sit in this shelter/restaurant and wait. Oh my God…. what was happening?…. was this “Jarred Out” syndrome contagious?!!! But it didn’t bother me, in fact I was glad……. it meant I’d have the place pretty much to myself…. lovely jubilee!!!! So me and Owen headed for Site 3.

Now to get to Site 3, you have to walk through rice paddy fields, and not only do you wonder if you’re going the right way, but you also wonder if you’re gonna get blown up at any point!!!! But I happened to see a Jar in the distance on the slope of a hill, so was satisfied I was on the right path!!!! And as we got up there, the place felt magical to me…. it felt beautiful. This was the smallest site which had been decontaminated, but it was by far the most intimate and personal….. it was a hill (much like the Tors in Somerset) covered in woodland (not dense vegetation), surrounded by lowlands, which again resembled the Somerset Levels. It felt like a special place in every aspect to me and the Jars were dotted about the hill top, not obviously like at the other sites…. but obscure as if they were hiding from you, yet waiting to be discovered. I felt so at ease there…. it was so peaceful, picturesque and beautiful.

I walked about alone, exploring and feeling the energy, and I saw, after 10 minutes, that Owen had already started making his way back to the bus. I was on my own!!!!……… and just like the time I was at Machu Pichu……….. I had the place completely to myself!!!! And it felt so special…….  I felt a similar vibe there to what I felt at Machu Pichu years before in terms of the magic. My mind felt so clear…. in fact, I think my mind was the clearest its ever been before or since in my life….. I was fully conscious, and without me even making an effort……. my internal dialogue had completely shut down. I was just being!!!!

I stayed there for around 45 minutes and in that time the only periodic thoughts I’d had were related to Nicole and I had some deep and powerful intuitions about things. It all seemed so clear to me up there….. for the first time since I met her I felt completely myself again and nothing really seemed to matter…. it all seemed so irrelevant…. it didn’t matter anymore…..things were gonna be alright and whatever happened, it would be the right way……. it was if I’d disconnected from my emotions and all that remained was truth……… which came to me clearly. I felt like myself again. So after taking in and appreciating the place for one last time, I headed back to the bus, feeling like a new man without the burden of weight across his shoulders. It felt good.

I arrived back, feeling quite upbeat and not giving a fuck that people were waiting…. they had the chance to go up there if they wanted to, and that was the only time I reckon I’ll ever be up there so I felt I had every right to make the most of it. On the way back I started formulating a letter I was gonna email Nicole in my head. All the words seemed to just flow and felt so right. But when I got back and started writing it down, I was in tears as I put pen to paper. My emotions had taken control again and I realised what my letter was saying. I was basically finishing it and it was clear that that was not what I wanted emotionally!!!!…. I know, I know………. I was back to square one… what a twat!!!! But I tell you what…. it’s fucking hard when you’ve got no one to talk to about affairs of the heart…….. it drives you insane because you dont think rationally and there’s no one there to let you know what rational is at that point!!!!! It was a bloody experience I can tell ya, and my bollocks were getting soppier by the minute!!!!!!!! 🙂

But it felt right to send it, so I went with it and found an internet place to mail from, but just before I could finish typing it out, the internet cafe was closing so I couldn’t send it. Oh well, so I just saved it and left. I felt so much better though having written everything down though….. and as I walked away the feeling of a need to send it left me altogether!!!! So I went out and found Owen in a restaurant (Ramadans!!!!) and we went on to have a pukka evening.

Things felt all gravy again….. and in the morning I set out for the place where I was to have the best times of all…… a “most excellent” place by the name of…… Vang Vein 🙂

Love and Light,

Miller

 

Miller and the Plain of Jars Adventure Part II

So once off the bus, I checked into a place in town. It’s pretty easy in places like Laos and Cambodia for that type of shit. Every time you get off a bus there’s a herd of guest house vultures waiting for their prey (you!!!), then as soon as you leave the safety confines of the bus they…. POUNCE!!!!…. and try and convince you that their place is the next best thing to the Ritz at a fraction of a fraction of the price…… in fact, compared to the Ritz they’re actually free!!!!!

But I usually go with eye contact to make my decision and whoevers eyes I make contact with and seem the most genuine, then that’s usually my decision made. This time an Irish girl followed suit and we went to a reasonably nice place, where she then asked if I wanted to share a room with her….. but it was said in such a way that I knew there were “implications” being suggested, but she wasn’t my type and seeing as my head really wasn’t in a place for anything like that….. I preferred sleep alone!!!!

Then after settling in I went out and scouted about town. Its a strange little place, really just one main road that goes on for maybe ¾ of a mile, with shops and restaurants either side, with no major features around and the countryside just being dead flat. When I checked in Bees Lonely Planet it basically called the place (cant remember its name at the mo!!!) “a bit of a shit hole” in the nicest possible way. I actually didn’t think it was shit though, for what it was……..(basically a town that’s grown along a road because of the Plain of Jars)…….it served its purpose – not like Vientienne or Pakse when you expect more of a town which has grown up alongside a river.

I found out the deal for seeing the Plain of Jars and it turned out you could only see them on organised tours as police permission was required, and only Laos people could get the licenses…….with a bribe of course!!!! I’d met some Israelis who also wanted to go there the next day and we set about bargaining for a price for a mini-bus……. Israelis are good at shit like that, and the weirdest thing is that all over south-east Asia there’s 3 prices – one for locals, one for back packers and one….. FOR ISRAELIS!!!! I got no idea how this has happened but it’s an unwritten rule that the South East Asians give the Israelis a discounted price automatically!!!! I dont know what the deal is…. but if somethings $2 for me…. then its $1 for an Isreali!!! How did that come about?!!!! I dont think even the Israelis know….. although they’re quite happy rubbing in the fact at every given opportunity!!!!….. Maybe they are the chosen people after all!!!!! Or maybe they’re just jammie bastards!!!! 😉

Only Joking!!!! 🙂 I’ve always found the Israelis to be pretty nice people…. although I always hear so many people slagging them off and speaking badly of them. Yeah… of course the odd one’s a bit arrogant…… but you get the odd arrogant person in every country….. and in France you get the odd two!!!!!! 😉 But these Israelis were cool as fuck….. apart from going on about Israeli prices!!!! 😉

I also checked my email and was gutted to see that once again Nicole hadn’t kept her word, only this time it was over something that was supposed to be so important. I felt let down and a bit hurt, and I was beginning to completely question her sincerity and honesty. But perhaps there was a good reason why she hadn’t sent it yet……but then again, she could of always have texted me that reason……. if it really mattered to her. I didn’t like being treated like this way, I didn’t feel I deserved it and felt I deserved better……. but at no point did I ever resent her in anyway…..and that’s another thing about the way I felt for her…….. I seemed to have so much capacity for understanding…… or the capacity for being a mug!!!…. I felt like I knew her and at no point did I ever feel angry towards her…… it felt impossible for me to feel anger towards her!!!!! In fact, I wish I could have felt angry towards her cos that would’ve made it a lot easier to let go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But I had the sensation that I should keep putting myself on the line at the risk of being rejected….. maybe that was what I had to learn from all this……. maybe that was my path……. to let go of my pride….. because pride can make you ignore your heart and do the wrong thing.

I know all this may sound a bit fucking pathetic……but it was so hard…….I was emotionally fucked again and in the back end of nowhere and I had absolutely no one to talk to!!! Just my own thoughts going around and around and around and around and around and around and around…………….. and around! I felt consumed by the love I had for her and I just wanted it to be realised or released. Just knowing one way or the other what was going on would’ve done that.

I went back to the guest house, and there, checking into a room was…. Owen…. the guy who I met on the Thai/Cambodian border and had got a taxi with him and his missus to Siem Riep (Angkor). He was covered in mud and had apparently had been on one hell of a journey. He was coming down from Vang Vein enroute to Vietnam, and apparently the road from Vang Vein had had a mudslide and was out. There was nothing to do, cos no emergency services or army were gonna fix it, so some of the Laos people started digging and putting boulders along the road. All the westerners saw what was happening and so started chipping in….. and then as soon as that happened all the Laos people left them to it and sat on their arses!!!!! Cheeky bastards!!!! He reckoned there was about 20-30 backpackers fixing the road and not a Laos body to be seen!!!! What a liberty!!!! He said “It was good fun though” and I goes “Yeah…. it really looks like it was good fun!!!! I can see you’ve had a ball :-)”.

Owen and his friends were up for the the Jars and so they joined us the next morning, along with another few people, which meant, per head, the bus had now become cheaper than chips……… being sold to the Jews…….. at Israeli prices!!! 😉

Love and Light,

Miller

Miller and the Plain of Jars Adventure Part I

………..So I was on the bus bound for the Plain of Jars…….and this bus was…..Public!!!! So I assumed the crash position and braced myself for the long 10 hour journey along the mountain roads, and as I got on I noticed a geezer “bowling” down the aisle. Only this “bowl” wasn’t that of a brother from the ghettos of South Central LA (or Barking for that matter!!!!;-) ). No, this bowl was more like the limp of a cripple who’d forgotten which part of his body went first!!! Then, as he sat down, I noticed the machine gun that was under his coat, with the barrel tucked down the inside of his trouser leg! What the Fuck?!!! It’s a bloody Hijacker!!!!!!

I was gonna tell the driver about it, then remembered part of the conversation I’d had with Rory. He said there were a lot of Terrorist Groups in Laos (or freedom fighters – depends on your perspective and what they do……personally, I think the most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world is the United States Government, but that’s my opinion……….and no doubt cos this mail contains the words terrorist and US Government in the same sentence its probably just been automatically intercepted by MI6!!!!!….hope they laugh at the funny bits………shall I add them to my list!!!!! 😉 ), and they’ve been known to hijack buses along the mountain roads, so now every bus had its own plain clothes armed guard ready for an attack…….so I clocked that this geezer must be our very own superhero!!!!!….. he did look quite hard……..I was happy!!!! 🙂

Rory also said that the mountainous areas that the French included within the boarders of Laos when they colonised it, were not actually Laos at all. Almost every valley in the mountainous regions had its own people, identity and dialect……..and that’s what the bomb that went off days earlier in Vientienne was really about. The groups were fighting/terrorising for their own autonomy…… and to further increase the bounds of ignorance…….. the French spelt the name Laos wrong anyway, putting an S in a place where, frankly, an S has no right to be!!!!! 🙂

In fact…. the only people who seem to bloody know how to spell Laos properly are the owners of Laos’s favourite beer……..the appropriately named – Beer Lao!!!!! No doubt they were pissed when they made the label!!!! As well as, for that matter, the producers of Laos’s greatest vice…….. the spirit which is commonly known as – Lao Lao!!!! I’m sure whenever the people of Laos sample its finer qualities, their spirit turns all maudlin and they reminisce of the time when Laos was Lao!!!!! 🙂 Either that or the word in Lao for alcohol is……… Lao!!!!! 🙂 No wonder the Lao people seem so happy!!!! Well…….. apart from the freedom fighters…………. who dont want any of it!!!! 😉

The next few hours were spent negotiating the mountain passes, driving wonderfully close to the edges!!!…….. I tell you what, the journey was like the last scene from the Italian Job….. except we didn’t go crashing over the edge and have to wait for Michael Caine’s great idea!!!!!;-)……..but we did pass a bus which must have been hi jacked days earlier….and to be honest……..their work looked like that of terrorists to me!!!!! At one point our guard got up and started looking vigilant and I thought “Here we go…….. he knows something we dont”….but he turned out to be looking for the spot where there would be a changing of the guard!!!! …..and we ended up getting the Laos equivalent of Robbie from EastEnders in exchange!!!!!……Fantastic!!!…. I felt really safe then!!!! 😦

But after the long hours of experimenting with every sitting position possible, other then sitting on my face….. we arrived at the town by the Plain of Jars. Throughout the journey, I’d been unable to get Nicole out of my mind…… and my head was getting more fucked by the hour, especially with all the time I’d had to think and mow things over. I didn’t know what to think or what to do.

I felt so confused over things….. it was all fucked up man…….. none of it felt fair and I was on the otherside of the world powerless to do anything about anything…….. it was all I’d ever wanted to share an experience like this with someone…… and all I wanted to know was if she loved me enough to join me…………. I’d received a flurry of texts since I’d come back into mobile range, full of love and commitment, but without decision……… time was moving on and it still didnt feel like she was communicating with me properly or telling me the whole story.

What?….. Should I’ve just got on with my life and forget about her without knowing for sure what was going on?……… Yeah I thought of that……….but how could I?……….. I fucking Loved her!!!!!!!! And at that point, what I wanted most in the world was her to be with me. So I figured I should just give her more time and try my best to understand. So, with my head fucked once again……. thats exactly what I decided to do.

Well……….. until I’d spent a day at the Plain of Jars that is……….

Love and Light,

Miller

 

 

Miller and the Capital Adventure

So we arrived in Vietienne the next morning and throughout my time thus far in Laos, I’d been receiving mixed reports on the place…….. some said it was great….. others said it was shit!!! For me, the first impression I had……..was that it was most definitely tom tit……… and that impression justifiably stayed cos there were no maybes about it, not because it was a particularly horrible place, but just because it was infact…..shit!!!! 😉

It’s a dusty sort of place that has the impression of being half built………or half knocked down……… perhaps it was half cared for……….or maybe it was half bombed!!! I got no idea…..but I do know it was half of something!!! Maybe the other half had floating down the river!!!………which separated it from Thailand. But either way it was a Capital with a small c….. or perhaps it didnt have a c at all!!!!!! Just the river…….. which separated it from Thailand!!!!:-)

But when we arrived, it was time for us to go our separate ways……. I was still after budget accomadation…. but the girls wanted something more civilised….you know…. something with a bathroom and running water!!! And the mating game being what it is the lads had to follow suit!!!!………I know, I know…..birds hey!!! Cant travel with them…. and as I was finding to my cost…… when you’re in Love….cant travel without them!!!!! 😉

So we reluctantly split up, arranging to meet at a designated spot on the map at 6pm and then all went in pursuit of compromised happiness!!!! I found mine within the hour and then went on a recce for the sites of Vientienne………. and you know what I found…..fuck all!!!! The place was shit!!! Apparently there was a park full of Buddas, which was appropriately named “The Budda Park”, but I couldnt be arsed……. as it sounded like the proverbial!!!! 😉

As I was walking by the river, sporting my Claret and Blue West Ham shirt, I clocked a bar by the side of it, and seeing as it was a banging hot day, I thought I’d sit in the shade and have a cheeky beer. Then just as I walked in, and was about to find a seat, a Geordie voice shouted out “Glad you made it back with us”…..I looked up and saw this middle aged geezer sitting with a Laos guy at the far end of the restaurant/bar. “Are you Sunderland then squire?” I stated with a smile, immediately understanding his chain of thought. “I am indeed…….. come and join us…….. Rory, nice to meet you” He confirmed, invited and introduced. And I sat down and followed suit.

We then proceeded to metamophasize (you try spelling that fucking word!!!!!) into football pundits, assessing our clubs potential at kicking arse in the forth coming premiership season, and then transformed (that was easier!!!) back into ourselves, talking of other matters. Turned out Rory was an expat who’d been working in Vientienne for several years, involved in education and training.

I was asking him about life in Laos and he was enjoying telling me. He said, being a communist country, it was a bit hairy at times, with the media and aspects of life being controlled. But it wasnt too bad. He told me, for example, a few days previously they’d heard a bomb go off in town and there was a mass commotion with police cars and emergency service vehicles…..but the next day there was nothing about it written in the papers or on the TV news……… which were all state controlled.

He went on to add the next few days were another case in point, because Laos was hosting a conference for the APEC trading area, where many heads of state will be in attendance. Vientienne was due to be completely closed off and no one living in Vientienne would be allowed to leave their houses for the 3 days of the summit. I was like “No way…….what?…you cant even walk in the street?” I asked. “No” he replied and continued “They want complete control over the population during those days…..the same thing happened last November when there was another international meeting held here…..we had big community meetings with officials informing us of what we had to do…..and they didnt like me”… “Whys that?” I asked “Because I started asking questions…..what would happen if I ran out of food in those days? Were there going to be any shops open? Would we have electricity all the time? What would happen if the water got turned off? The official didnt have any replies as he hadn’t come prepared to answer any questions!!! He was just there to tell people what to do!!!…..but it was made clear to me that I should stop asking questions”….”How was that then?” I said intrigued “He just put his hand on the gun by the side of his waist and looked at me!!!! I soon got the message!!!!” Rory laughed!!! “That’s fucked up” I said. “Its just the way it is over here….you dont ask questions……….you just do what they say” Rory finished by saying.

Then he looked over the river to Thailand and started telling me a story of what happened a year ago……somewhere just across the boarder Tescos had opened a massive supermarket, and seeing as nothing like that existed in Vientienne, they cheekily put a massive sign inviting people in Laos to shop at Tescos!!!!! Rory was cracking up and said for weeks people were swimming across the river to do their shopping!!!! He said they used to go with big bin liners and on the way back seal their shopping in the liners and float it back to Laos!!!!

Now even if Tescos Value Strippy Stuff is Cheap – like a Budgie………… it certainly aint cheap enough for me to go swimming across a major river for!!!!! 🙂 And I reckon even a budgie, singing “cheap” about a tight budget, wouldn’t bother flying that far for a Tescos Promise!!!!! 😉 But thousands of the Laos people seemed quite happy to make the effort and venture into freedom………but after a while the government cottoned on to all the lost revenue and Rory said that they started policing the river and made everyone pay import duties on their groceries!!!!!! Bloody hell!!!!!….. After that people stopped going and then one day the sign was gone.

What a story….. I was cracking up and we were all enjoying a bit of banter, when the daughter of the owner of the bar started clearing the table. Rory and the Laos guy had a friendly dickie bird with her and she replied, smiled and went away. “You see her Miller……. she’s only 13 and her fathers got her working all the hours. We’ve been coming here for 2 years and she’s only just started opening up to us….. I keep going on at her father that he should let her get an education”………….. This girl was absolutely beautiful….and Rory said she’s bright with it…. and he was afraid of the inevitable…… that at some point she was gonna be smuggled into the prostitution rackets in Europe…. he’d seen it happen before………… “And if he doesn’t let her, then I’m going to have a serious word with her father about it” he said with a look I couldn’t quite work out on his face.

Then I started talking about the Plain of Jars and asked if he’d been there. “Oh yes….beautiful place, but there’s been a lot of bombing around there…..make sure you get to the third site….its the smallest but the best” he said. “So its worth going to then?” I carried on. “Yeah, I reckon…..as long as you like jars!!!” he said and made me laugh. “It feels like a spiritual place to me…is it?” I asked further. Now Rory didn’t come across as a spiritually minded type of guy, but he took onboard my question and said “Hmmm…..yeah I guess it is actually, well worth seeing if you’ve got the time”.

So I was reassured that I was making the right decision in traipsing over the other side of the country, through the mountain pass and over to the plains, just to see some Jars!!!!!! Rory added that I’d better leave in the next couple of days as well otherwise I’d get stuck in Vientienne for this meeting!! And then this other couple on another table joined our conversation and we spoke for half hour, until they announced they were going swimming.

Now, earlier in the day I’d had the thought that cos it was so hot I wouldn’t mind a swim, but didn’t know where a swimming pool was……and I actually thought that if I did find a swimming pool what would be the odds that the double couple had had the same idea and I’d “co-incidently” meet them there!!! So when this couple said that, my intuition went into over-drive and I thought I should go with them. But for the first time on my trip I ignored it and decided to follow my mind and think practically…..I had 2 hours till I was meant to meet the guys and I didnt know where this couple were going anyway. I thought, better go back and have a kip then have a shower and meet them.

So that’s what I did. When I returned to my hotel I saw this sexy looking bird go in the room next to me, so I thought I’d go and have a chat. She was Austrian and her friend German, and we had a bit of a laugh. I invited them out for the evening but they had an eary start to Vang Vein in the morning, so I went for a kip…… at least that’s what I tried!!!! But it was like an oven in my room and all I managed to do was sweat my bollocks off!!!!! And even after a shower I was still sweating and ended up being late to meet the guys!!!!

As I walked at pace through the street I saw Bee in the distance……it was now 6.20pm, and like a darling she’d just kept waiting for me. “Where’s everyone else” I asked. They’re in the pool, we’ve been there all afternoon” she said and led me there. “You’re having a bubble bath!!!” I said really pissed off at myself…..cos it was the pool that couple had gone to and I’d just spent the last 2 hours sweating me knackers off!!!! I couldn’t believe it….if only I’d followed my intuition I would’ve had a splendid afternoon!!!! Fucking Muppet!!!!! So I said hello and then goodbye to the guys, and run to get me swimming shorts!!!!

Once back, the Austrian girl asked a favour of me….she wouldn’t be able to collect some pictures she had burned on a cd, and asked if I’d collect them for her, and bring them to Vang Vein as I was going there too and we thought we’re bound to bump into each other. So I agreed and said goodbye, running through the streets to this swimming pool!!!….oh….and how good was it when I dived in!!!! Beautiful!!!! 🙂

And that evening, when we all went out on the town, we were trying to decide where to eat and low and behold I only happened to pass a bar and see a pair of plonkers having a giggle……it was James and Simon!!!!!:-) Great stuff!!!! So our decision was made, we went in to join them and had a very happy re-union (oh I made a mistake in the last mail…..James and Si I think briefly met Bee and the guys at breakfast on the morning they left…….I got confused…I just remembered the evening we spent all together was here….and it was fun!!!!;-) ).

And as it was to turn out….James and Simon were staying at the hotel almost directly opposite my own!!!! This was starting to get a bit scary!!!….especially later after I’d returned to my hotel, I decided to go and check my emails and as I walked along the road, James and Si passed and we said our goodbyes again. Then, I continued to pass James 4 times randomly!!! Now the first time that happens…its nice…..the second time it happens….its a bit funny…….the third time things start becoming a bit annoying and awkward, but then on the fourth occassion ….well quite frankly…. it becomes embarrassing and you just want to tell each other to jog on!!!!!

But I managed to check my emails and I got a mail from Nicole saying that she was going to send me an important email…. but why couldn’t she take the time to tell me in that email?… I didn’t know… All I knew was that it was doing my nut in!!! What was going on???!!! I felt like I was being mugged off, but what do you do? It was bollocks mate and it put me on a real downer. But, anyway, in the meantime it was on to “a bit of a spiritual place” called the Plain of Jars…

Love and Light,

Miller

 

Miller and the Adventure to Vientiane

So it was back to Pakse and I immediately discovered the advantage of travelling in a group……… so much easier to barter for rides and cheaper than the strippy stuff at Tescos!!!! 😉 We were on the public bus, lucky enough on this occasion, less some live stock, lengths of timber and unfortunately…….. the sacks of flour!!!….. which meant a tight squeeze and a sore arse, being forced to sit in the equivalent of the crash position on a plane!!!!! Maybe there was something they werent telling us!!!!! 😉 But the random boxes remained………. glued to the best seats!!!! 🙂

And Pakse……..well what can you say about the place ………?…….. its tom tit…… shit!!!….. I dunno what the deal is there, but its the most boring and run down of towns…… there seems to be fuck all to do there yet it somehow supports five 5 star hotels!!!! Who the fuck stays there? Who the fuck would want to stay there?!!!! Its a mystery to me….infact it must be a mystery to the people that stay there!!!!!…… In their 5 star hotels!!!:-) I didnt want to stay there…. infact I reckon the only reason you end up staying there is because you werent quick enough to book your ticket to leave when you first arrived!!!! 🙂

Its a strange place……..its the biggest town in southern Laos…….and for the people entering Laos from the south travelling north……..its their first town and is seen as Laos gateway………but for the people leaving Laos travelling south from the north…….its their last town and it must be seen as Laos arsehole!!!!;-) Unless of course you’re Elton John entering Laos from the south and travelling north……….. then Pakse always an arsehole!!!!! 😉

But we were flash bastards and were quick enough to book our tickets…….. leaving that evening on the night bus to Vientienne…….and we had a choice of 3 buses………the public one (definitely not), the not so public one (maybe?) or the flash one (definitely maybe)……and cos we had already realised we were flash bastards, we opted for the flash one!!!! 🙂 But we had some hours to spare so went back into town and went on the internet……and I sent the letter I’d written to Nicole (basically including the stuff you’ve read earlier…..now theres nothing on earth like receiving a hand written letter…..but sometimes an email will do)…. and then I recommended we all have a curry at that nice Ramadan place (turned out he had a chain all over Laos……. he was the Indian McDonalds!!!) before we caught the bus.

And the bus was ok…….. well apart from the mickey mouse fucking music!!!!!!!!!! You see……all over south-east asia they’ve got this thing on the more expensive buses…….for the entire time the bus is in motion, they have music playing….not just bellowing out….BUT FUCKING SCREACHING OUT of every bloody speaker its possible to wire into a 44 foot bus!!!!! And it aint just any fucking music either……..its some kind of asian pop that makes stock-aitken and waterman sound like Mozart!!!!! And not only do they play the music at full pelt……..but they play the cheesy videos on the tv aswell!!!!! It drives you fucking INSANE!!!!! And even when you’ve got your walkman on full blast………you can still hear the shit over the top of it!!!! I swear….if that aint bad enough….it appears that every bloody bus in the whole of south east asia has got the same music dvd with the same 10 tracks………either that or the entire pop chart in south east asia consists of ten songs, which have been in the top ten for the past ten years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Its Fucking Mental mate!!!! At least I was by the time I fell asleep at about 2 am!!!……. they’d turned it down by then!!! Fucking hell….I’d rather listen to Kylie Minogue!!!! Now wheres my collection?!!!! 😉 And it was on to Vietienne…

Love and Light,

Miller

Miller and the Tadlo Falls Adventure Part VI

………..So I was hanging out with Bee, Caroline and Tim (times 2) for the next couple of days in Tadlo, enjoying their company and also enjoying being the Tims guide in exploring the falls…..and it turned out they had an affinity with taking liberties too!!!!……and even though they were a bit dubious about following me in some of the places at first, we all went onto push back further the frontiers of Tadlo Falls exploration!!!! :-)……….but drew the line at conquering the ledge where the German almost became brown bread!!!! 🙂

I’d told them of my plans to go to the Plain of Jars, and they were interested, but decided it was too far out the way……….

* It was on the north eastern side of Laos, where you would only normally go only if you were in transit to Vietnam………but the Americans know it well……..they were very generous in donating copius amounts of land mines to the area, so that the evil monsters in Vietnam couldnt get out and destroy the free world………and since those evil monsters turned out to be hard nuts……. well …. they decided to bomb it too…… would’ve been rude not to, especially as that meant there was less chance of Americans getting hurt ……. and to further reduce the risks of Americans getting hurt……. why not train the Laos people to do the bombing for you…….. now theres an idea………. maybe twist their arm a bit too……….. and with all the health care and education problems which existed in America………. what better way to spend the peoples taxes…….. then by spending $2 million a day, everyday, for over decade……. dropping bombs on Laos……… well you cant drop them all on Vietnam can you….. they’re hard bastards over there…….they’ll beat you up!!!! 😉 Well at least the free worlds safe…….  WHEREVER IT IS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *

…………but in order to get there I had to go via Vientienne (the Laos capital) where they were heading too, so it was cool to travel together. I wanted to go to the Plain of Jars because it felt like a bit of a spiritual place to me, although there wasnt much information about it. So I looked in Bee/Tims lonely planet and it said that…

“The plain of jars might be a bit of a spiritual place!” 😉

Well, not in those exact words, but words to that effect…… apparently no one knew what it really was…….. so I was heading to the Plain of Jars….. which might be a bit of a spiritual place!!! 😉

So we left Tadlo, it seemed a shame to say goodbye to the place, but it was time to move on……. and as for that Laos woman…….. well, it was a shame……. but I guess some things go unfulfilled. ;-(

Love and Light,

Miller

Miller and the Tadlo Falls Adventure Part V

…….So that was pretty much my life style while I was in Tadlo. I’d get up, have breakfast, read in my hammock, have lunch, go for a swim, coach the kids, play volleyball, then go for dinner and have a beer. It was as cool as the f word ending in K……..covered in gravy……….. baby!!!!:-)

The next evening I was back down the local and had joined a bunch of Germans (lovely people!) at their table……but I wasnt really participating in the conversation…..its pretty hard when you dont understand German!!!!! I was gonna try and impress them with my command of the phrases I did know…….but no matter how many times you say it…… “Mutter Ficker” never goes down well around a dining table!!!!!! 😉 Even if, at times, the phrase seems quite appropriate!!!!!! 😉 No…it was my fault really…….I should really go out and learn properly another language, instead of doing impersonations of Del boy all the time!!!!! The only thing is…….I can only ever remember the swear words!!!!! 😉

But in the end, Ze Germans…….who turned out to be Swiss…… finished their meals and said Auf Videsian, retiring to a bed and i was left sitting there, quite happily, minding my own business, when the geezer with the silly bandana came up to me with a bottle of Lao Lao (thats the Laos equivalent of turps!!!! 😉 Strong shit which tastes like a mixtrure of Vodka and Whiskey…..what a combination!!!!! 🙂 ). He goes…. “Dude….we’ve all done a bit of this (signalling to a bloke and 2 birds) ….you’ve got to have some to……….go on!!!”

I wasnt feeling in the mood for it and so I said “Nah, I’m alright mate” and then the lad did something that really impressed me. Usually in those situations, when someone who’s already half cut offers you alcohol….its not an offer and they continue to harass you until you give in…..but he replied “Sorry bud” in an almost apologetic tone “No pressure…its up to you, but have some if you want”……leaving the power of choice completely in my hands………..and thats exactly the type of thing I would of done!!!! This bloke was cool!!!! So I went over and joined them!!!

And in the end…..joined them with the Lao Lao too….it was good stuff!!!! So we did the name thing and James said that him and Simon were from Tunbridge Wells. So I goes…remembering a bird I used to have who lived close by…. “Do you know a village called Mayfield….I used to have a bird that lived there”. James and Simon looked at me dumb struck!!! “NO WAY!!!!:-)” James shouted in disbelief “Thats our village….we only tell people we’re from Tunbridge because no ones ever heard of Mayfield and its a lot easier!!!”. “Its true” Simon carried on “We’ve never ever met anyone who’s heard of Mayfield!!!!”. “I love you Man!!!! :-)” James declared giving me a big hug!!!!!

Bloody hell ……he’d only known me 2 minutes and he already loved me…….I started wondering if he was really from Essex!!! 😉

Now, I found James to be a very special person……… the thing is, everybody on this planet is special, only billions seem to walk around everyday in darkness not realising it…..and the biggest step on the path to enlightenment………is the realisation that you’re special………I’ve always felt that I was special……..for as long as I can remember……..and I’m sure James has always felt hes special too……..

…………….James shines light around him wherever he goes…..he’s the type of person you’d want with you in the trenches, not to fight, but just to be there…………because if he’s there, you know you’ll be getting out of there alive……..such is the strength of his positivity.

And Simon, well…..When I knew him he was wearing a beard that made him look like the lanky love child of the geezer from Fiddler on the Roof!!!!!!;-) And I’ve never known anyone who’s made me laugh so much!!!!! The only thing with Simon is that sometimes you dont know if you’re laughing at him or with him!!!!! And I’m sure at times he has no idea whether he’s being serious or being funny!!!! Simons a diamond surrounded by 24 carrot pukka!!!! And between them they make quite a double act and could fill any stage with their presence!!!!……Bob will have to wait in the Green Room cos hope is taking the encore!!!! 🙂

So we all had a bubble and got on mighty jollily, and I told them about the falls and climbing in them…….and the next day I saw them in the afternoon and they proceeded to tell me about the ordeal they and the girls had just been through. They tried swimming over to the falls, which is a strong current it had to be said, and like a bunch of muppets they’d all been swept down river……..through all the rocks and rapids!!!!!! One of the girls had even caught her foot in some rocks and reckoned she almost drowned……but I was cracking up!!!!! 🙂 They’d ended up clambering onto some rocks and being rescued by some Laos villagers……….I can just imagine the scene now. ……what a pair of plonkers!!!!!! 😉

The next day we arranged to do a coffee plantation and waterfall tour, which was on the back of mopeds with us each having a driver. And it was here I witnessed James ability to instantly manefest his own reality……..even though he didnt seem aware of it!!!!! As we talked about booking the rides, James goes “Ahh….I wanna drive the moped myself”, which no one thought anything of……..but then 10 minutes later, when the Laos guys couldnt get hold of enough drivers for the six of us, they said one of us would have to drive and without asking selected James for the privelege!!!

He was really in the flow man!!!…..fucking hippy!!! 😉

So we went off and had a pukka day, getting high on pure coffee and hiking to the most beautiful waterfalls…..oh yeah……and when we stopped at a town, I bought a football so I could coach the kids!!!! And the colour of the ball………well it was only claret and blue!!!! Sorted!!!! 🙂

And coaching the kids was amazing!!! Some days I had up to 30 or 40!!!! Some of the villagers used to watch and even some westerners I noticed sitting and enjoying the spectacle!!! It was great fun and the kids really seemed to apprieciate it…..the language barrier wasnt a problem….I feel pretty comfortable when trying to get a message across!!! And everyday as I sat in my hammock in the morning…..the kids used to go running by, see me and start pretending to kick a football asking if it was time to play yet!!! “No…….later!!!” I’d say, pointing to my wrist and mimicking the time!!! It gave me the warmest sensation!!!!!!!:-) But now bugger off and let me read!!!! 😉

When we returned from the trip, I got back and low and behold…..somebody was sitting in my hammock…..and it wasnt goldie locks!!!!! No…..it was some one far more beautiful….a beautiful asian woman called Bee! “Sorry” she said. “No problem, its cool….stay there if you want”  I said and we started having a chat and really got on well. It turned out she was with her boyfriend (bugger!!!) Tim, her friend Caroline and her boyfriend……Tim!!! Well that was easy then!!! And they turned out to be the most chilled pair of couples you’re ever lightly to meet…….and they came from Tunbridge Wells!!!! “You’re gonna have to meet James and Simon” I said and introduced them that night.

It turned out that Bees family owned a shop……..the shop James used to go in everyday on his way to school!!!! But they didnt recognise eachother, even though their paths must’ve crossed! It was another good night and we all had fun.

The next morning, I was having breakfast and a picture caught my eye…..it was a picture of a jar that looked quite plain……..I was intrigued………it was taken at a place called…………wait for it………..The Plain of Jars!!!!! :-)….Thats where I was going next!!!!!! Moments later James and Si turned up and announced they were moving on. So we said our goodbyes, but had the feeling it wasnt the last we’d see of eachother……… and me……..well I spent the next few days chilling with the double couple!!!! 🙂

….. and as it was to turn out, they were going to be the only people I travelled with on the whole of my journey…

Love and Light,

Miller

Miller and the Tadlo Falls Adventure Part IV

……So I walks down to the restaurant/bar in the tourist part of Tadlo…….a beautiful and chilled little place, by the river with the best views of the falls…….and went and ordered my dinner…..which was invariably spagetti bolognaise, as I was still trying to keep on the right side of my stomach and prevent it from seeing the new feature length epic of “Gandhis Return”!!!! My stomach really wasnt into sequals and it had found “Gandhis Revenge” to be a right bummer!!!!! 😉

So I sat down and awaited my italian delight…..Laos style :-), and the Canadian girl walks in, clocks me and sits down at my table. We starts having a chat and it turned out her family were from South Okendon, and she was born in Essex!!!! She was an Essex Girl!!!! Well……I couldnt help but relentlessly take the piss…….she’d made herself an easy target to poke………fun at!!!;-)……..and she appeared to enjoy the experience…… just like all Essex girls do!!!! 😉

But then I started talking about my trip and happened to mention about the Kymer Rouge and how I thought that what they did was even more evil then the atroscities of the Nazis. And then she flew off the handle at me again………..she goes “WHAT?…..Do you actually know what the Nazis did?”….. “Yes, and I also have learnt what the Kymer Rouge did and in my opinion they were even more evil……although I dont believe its a competion :-)” I added in an attempt to be more light hearted.

She then went into one at me saying how she’d studied the Nazis and was giving me a lecture, basically rubbishing my opinion, at which point I’d heard enough and curtly interupted her saying “Look!……I’ve also been to sites in Germany and I’ve been to sites in Cambodia where particular atrocities have been carried out…..and based on what I FEEL and have learnt…..the sites in Cambodia were more evil…..and thats my opinion….I am Entitled to an opinion you know!!!!” I said getting a little bit of a strop on!!!

Well…. she shut up and stopped having a pop at me………. but I didnt feel particulary comfortable around her and we’d entered into another deep silence. So, in an effort to make peace and break the ice again………. I got back into the Essex girl jokes!!!!! 😉 But she was in a mood now and excused herself without saying goodbye…….. thank god for that……. I didnt bloody ask her to sit with me!!!!!!

So I sat there by myself again, sipping me pigs ear and reading my book, when this English woman came over and asked me really sweetly if I’d like to come and join her and her fella. “I’d love to…..thanks thats really nice” I said while going and joining them at their table. And as it turned out….Lyn and Stu were about the soundest couple of people I’d ever met. We spent the entire evening talking passionately about the stuff we were into and had done, and were having a proper bubble, and the time and the beers seemed to fly by!!!!………

*and in the midst of having a bubble….I happened to hear a great laugh across the room….there were a couple of lads having their own bubble with the owners of the bar……..and I happened to notice that one of them…..wearing this stupid blue bandaner (which wasnt even put on properly!)….. was different to everyone else *

…………..They were deep people full of a lot of love and just so fucking cool!!!!….I felt completely at ease with them and completely able to be myself!!!…..Its not often you feel that with someone after a few minutes…..but with them it was instant!!!! And as we were talking about ourselves I obviously told them about the work I’d done with Leyton Orient Football Club, and Lyn said “Is that the club which has got this new centre being built?…..whats it called?” “ The Score centre “ I volunteered. “Yeah, thats it” she said. “How did you know about that?” I asked a bit flabergasted……

– At the time I left, Leyton Orient were in the middle of major works rebuilding the stadium and were almost completing the building of a brand new, state of the art indoor sports complex….The Score Centre –

…….”I used to work for an organisation which made decisions on the allocation of grants for community facilities…….The last decision I was involved with was the grant for Leyton Orient…….it was a long debate, we had a choice of dividing the money between 6 other community projects or giving all the funding to Leyton for the one big one…….I was arguing the case that the money would be better allocated among the 6 projects, but Leyton won the day in the end”

I was like “No way!!!!….argh Lyn you should see it though….I had a sneaky peak in there just before I left and it looks awesome…….it looks like money well spent to me”………The score centres basically a massive area, larger then a football pitch, undercover in a rectangular building/canopy similar to the millenium dome……..she said “Really….I’m so glad I met you because that was the last decision I was involved with and its actually been bugging me ever since!!! You’ve set my mind at rest!”…..and I was pleased to!!!!! 🙂

Before we new it it’d turned midnight and when we looked up we realised everyone had gone!!!!!! The only person left in the bar was the owners daughter…..who was half falling asleep and sitting in her pyjamas!!!! Bloody hell these Laos people were polite!!!!! She asked if we wanted another beer and we were saying…”Are you sure….is it still cool for us to be here? “ She said yes. We goes “If you want to go to bed you can…dont stay up on our account” She looked pleased and then gave us the keys to the beer fridge, so we could help ourselves, then asking us to turn the lights out when we leave and went to bed!!!!! How cool was that!!!! We had the run of the place and carried on drinking till about 1.30 am!!!! What a pukka night!!!!!

It was really cool there too because the geezer allowed you to have a slate (tab to you foreign types!) and it was nice she trusted us to be honest with it. But Stu and Lyn were heading off the next day, so we exchanged emails and said our goodbyes grateful of the company for that evening. I’d only known them 5 minutes….but I already loved them to bits!!!!:-)

*…………And they were going to reappear back in my life at a time when i needed them most. *

So I walked back to my bungalow and I noticed the big gate was closed leading to it. Bloody hell….gonna have to jump it I thought, but then saw a little gap by the side of the post and tried to squeeze through……….then I heard a tear….

Oh fucking hell!!!!….there was some barbed wire and I’d ripped me cool as fuck Molecule half cut pants…..and I werent bloody happy!!!!! “Who the Fuck locked this gate!!!!” I screamed out in the confines of my own head!!! Gonna have to fucking jump it now…..Bollocks!!!!….I tell you what, in the moment I werent best pleased!!! 🙂 And as I put my hands on the bars, while preparing to jump over………the gate swung open!!!!!! “Oh you fucking bastard….of all the fucking muppets in the world…..you complete and utter gonad!!!!” I thought to myself………..and then couldnt help but laugh………..what a twat!!!!! 🙂 Well……I guess I’ll have to find someone to sow me strides up in the morning then……bugger it!!! And I went to bed 🙂

Love and Light,

Miller

 

Miller and the Tadlo Falls Adventure Part III

……So Tadlo was an amazing place, and the next day I did an elephant ride through the jungle……its so serene and peaceful riding on an elephant, the movement of the elephant as it walks is so relaxing and we went quite a way out through the outlying villages further down the river. And when I got back I decided to change pads and move to a bungalow by the river, as the one I was in was damp and full of termites!!!!!

So I swapped over, paying the extra dollar per night…(the woman at my new digs did me a deal and apparently I wasnt supposed to tell anyone)…..so now I had a much nicer room, with a stunning view and a balcony with hammock to boot!!!! Lovely Jubilee!!!! 🙂 And as I moved in , the original bird who clocked me came over and stood by my door…..I’m not sure why, she didnt say anything……she was just looking at me. I invited her in but she wouldnt cross the threshhold…..and after a few minutes she left……bloody hell!!!!!………. I so wanted to….!!!!!;-)

Now, the other thing about Tadlo that I loved…………was the fact that there was no internet……no phone……and for the first time on my trip….no mobile phone signal!!!! I immediately felt a different  kind of freedom……a freedom you so readily forget when you’re surrounded by technology and electrical communication facilities. I hadnt the chance to get in touch with Nicole, even if I wanted to………and she couldnt contact me………it did me the world of good.

I actually came to a realisation while I was there, which actually proved to me that what I felt for her was completely different to what I’ve ever felt for a woman before………I HAD NO FEAR!!!!…..I’d never been with someone and not been afraid that they may be unfaithful to me….but what I felt for Nicole transcended that…….I didnt care!!!….It didnt matter!!!!….whatever she did was fine…..cos I knew that would be part of her path……..all that mattered was that she’d come back to me……and by what she said she felt the same way………we never demanded anything of eachother.

But when I was in Thailand i sent her text and said “I know I’m free……but I choose to use that freedom to be faithful to you” and she recipricated. Now I know there may be people out there who think thats a fucking nonsense and I’m a twat…….but you know what …..I dont give a fuck!!!! Cos its my truth!!!! If my hearts with a girl….then shes all I need….. or want…….and sex?…..what is it without that spiritual connection? SHIT thats what it is….hedonistic bullshit….unless you meet someone else you share a connection with.

At least for me anyway….everyone has their own truth. But the thing is……once you’ve experienced sex which has that deep connection and is steeped in love…..nothing else can compare….its fucking;-) amazing…..and nothing else will do or can compare….its at a far deeper level which satisfies your being and takes you places where nothing else can touch…………….and those one night stands with “someone who will just do”……..yeah, I’ve had those……and to be Anne Frank……I’d rather have a wank!!!!……and compared with a girl I aint got chemistry with…….I find a tommy tank gives me much more satisfaction!!!!! 😉 Its just the way I am and I make no apologies for it.

Infact………..I love being faithful to a girl…..it makes me feel good and the relationship feel special………….why shouldnt you feel good about being faithful to someone?……if you’ve been lucky enough to find someone who fulfils you completely…..on all levels, but especially sexually……..why would you feel the need to go looking for that elsewhere? I know a lot of people do that and feel they can justify that within themselves…..and I know its different if you happen to find something by “chance”…..but to look for it………its just not something I understand……and thats why it felt easy to be faithful to Nicole….even though she didnt expect that of me…..and I didnt expect that of her…..its just something I wanted to do……

…….even with that Laos woman about…..I wouldnt go there would I?…….Would I???????? 😉

That evening when I went to the local, I saw a bird sitting by herself, so I asked to join her for dinner. She turned out to be Canadian and we had a nice chat………then I noticed she went quiet for a bit and I saw a look in her eyes…..and when I look in peoples eyes I generally feel what they’re thinking…..”You’re thinking about someone you love arent you” I said randomly. “Yeah…..how did you know?”…. “I noticed the moisture in your eyes” I said. “Do you think age gap matters in a relationship?” she replied straight to the point… “Not at all…..what matters is your connection with that person” I said and continued to tell her about the person I’d just fell in love with. “But I’m afraid the person I love just wants me for my money” she said and continued to explain.

It turned out she’d met a guy recently who was 20 and she was 33 (she only looked 23 for fucks sake….I was flabergasted!!!!)…..and he was everything she wanted but he was from South America and was low on cash and had asked her for a hand out. I said “Well follow your heart and dont base your opinion about him on fear”….”I’m not basing it on fear” she declared!!!! “But you said that you were afraid about him wanting your money” I explained “But that doesnt mean I’m judging by fear” she said. “Of course it does…….thats even exactly what you said” I continued. “Look…I dont want to argue about it!!!” she replied.

Gor blimey!!!! I didnt realise I was arguing about anything!!!! And we proceeded to enter a 5 minute silence…..which….I felt very uncomfortable in!!! And during that time I’d finished my meal and decided to depart…..and as I rose from my chair I said “Look…I didnt mean to upset you in any way…..but you did ask for my opinion and thats what I gave…..I hope you have a nice evening” and then I scapered!!!! 🙂 Bloody hell….that felt a bit over the top!!!! So I went to bed!!!! 🙂

The next day was chilled……I got up, went back across to the other lodge, where they had a resturant, had some breakfast (always toast, eggs and black coffee (it was a coffee plantation area….be rude not to!!!!…..and I was turning into a bloody egg as it was generally the only thing on the menu my stomach could muster……otherwise Gandhi kept getting his Revenge!!!!! 😉 ) then went and sat in my hammock, on my balcony, over looking the falls and began to read a book by that Castenella fella which my second cousin Lorraine had lent to me at some point the previous year………

……I’d had it with me ever since, and was just waiting for the right time to read it. Well today was the day!!!! And I read……….which sometimes I find quite difficult because when I read my mind always seems to wander off in all kinds of different tangents!!!!! Its like sometimes I’ll read something….and it’ll trigger off a chain of thoughts leading to a revelation of something that it feels like I’ve previously forgot. Something I’ve always known………yet…………. couldnt remember.

After lunch and a swim, I returned to my hammock and was sitting there when I glanced up towards the Laos village and noticed a load of kids playing in a large clearing which the village encompassed. So I thought….. “I wanna Play too!!!!” :-), so I got up and wandered over. The kids were playing randomly………..and as I’m a sports coach and activity leader I set about getting their attention in order to play some games!!! It was funny cos I was marking out lines in the dirt and everyone was looking at me wondering what the fuck this crazy Englishman was doing……but you’ll be surprised how far a smile goes to reassure people and gain their trust!!!!

So I called the kids in, with some adults watching curiously in the background, and began to teach them the rules of bulldog!!!!…..without the aid of verbal language!!!!…..and just through sheer demonstative effort…..slowly but surely……they learnt the game!!!!….And how much did they bloody LOVE IT!!!!!! It was so much fun………even all the adults who were sitting watching had big smiles on their faces………….and there was that Laos woman again…..with the biggest smile of all………argggghhh…..dont go there!!!!! 🙂

I was gonna teach British Bulldog…….but I’m sure there would’ve been some fatalities!!!….so I just continued with chain-tag and Duck, Duck, Goose, and Gor Blimey……..some of them didnt have a clue what was going on with that one…..but they still enjoyed it all the same!!!:-)

After that I decided I wanted to have a wander further through the village and started to say my goodbyes to the kids…..they wouldnt let me go…….but through the language of sign…..I promised I’ll be back tommorrow. So off I trotted, as late afternoon started to become early evening. And on my travels I clocked a load of Laos men playing volleyball…….so I thought….I’ll have some of that, and bowled over!!!

Now, at first these geezers were a bit cold shouldered towards me, and no one really acknoledged my presence…..but I thought I’d hang about and wait for an opportunity to play…….and then after about half an hour of being ignored (it seemed very cliquey….almost like an English Badminton club!!!!), I was just about to walk off when some fellows dropped out of the game and there werent enough people to replace them……. C’est Bon Chance pour Le Anglaise Homme…..fafafa!!!! 🙂

And so I played!!! And lucky enough I’m quite handy at volleyball and they were pleased at my presence giving high fives everytime I did something special……..and even when I did something not so special!!!!……….I was in the Clique…….Hooray!!!!! 😉 And at the end they invited me to come back for the next day…..sweet as….sorted!!!! And so I went back every evening…..and I noticed a strange thing…..every night after the game had finished, there was always some arguing and money exchanging hands…..what was all that about? Surely they werent hiring the court and paying subs!!!!! But as the the evenings went by it suddenly became clear to me…….They’d been betting on the result of the game!!!!!! And luckily enough for me, whatever team I happened to be on…..it was never the losing side!!!!!!! 🙂

So after I said my goodbyes and headed back for a shower, I went down the “local” for dinner and a beer………and that night…..the most special people crossed my path……….

Love and Light,

Miller

Miller and the Tadlo Falls Adventure Part II

So I began my recce around the falls, walking through the little tourist village, which lined the river looking out to the falls a couple of hundred yards away in the distance. I crossed the bridge which crossed from there over to some other lodges secluded in the jungle, but which afforded closer views of the falls, and walked through up to the falls themselves. And they were beautiful…. not dramatic by any means….. but almost like a minature version of Niagra on the American side. They’re a bout 10 metres high and stretch maybe a hundred and fifty yards across, with all sorts of temptations for climbing and exploring them.

There were places to swim, a ladder going up and everywhere you looked children seemed to be playing and enjoying themselves without any adults restricting their imagination. And even though there was also their village along the banks of the river, in the distance just passed the tourist part, on the same side……… the whole of Tadlo felt secluded and away from everything…… none of the man made structures inhibited on the scene of the natural beauty. It looked like an amazing place to grow up!!!!! 🙂

So after a walk up and around, crossing another footbridge back to the other side, I went and had some lunch in what was gonna turn out to be the “local”. And after lunch, I felt like going for a swim and exploring the waterfalls. This German geezer was also up for it, so we crossed the bridge, went down to the river and swum through the water to the falls and climbed up them, then waded through the top of them, climbing here and there and taking liberties!!!!

It was great…. but the thing was….. as you well know by now…. I enjoy taking the odd liberty cos it gives me a buzz…… but I take calculated liberties……  but this German……  well…… he was taking DIABOLICAL LIBERTIES……… walking in places even an eskimo would find slippery and climbing in places where even I wouldn’t climb!!!!! Infact, he was taking so many liberties he was gonna end up killing himself!!!!….. and you know what…. he almost did!!!!

I’d found a pretty chilled spot, sitting on a rock in the middle of the falls with the water gushing over my shoulders, just above a ledge which was about 3ft wide and 10ft long. I’d already walked on it and felt like an ice skater minus his skates!!! I warned the Nazi… I mean German…. (I’m only having a bubble bath with ya….. and the Germans know it too!!!;-) )…… that it was slippery, but he continued in Japanese Kamakarze vein (no wonder they were allies during the war!!! 😉 …. I’m so joking!!!! 😉 )…….. and he ended up slipping backwards, in almost slow motion, landing on his hands, so he was on all fours but in a crab like stlyle with his coal sack beneath him. And slowly and increasingly faster the flow of the water was taking him along the ledge and leading him over it, into what would be his last moments……. because if you could’ve seen the volume and power of the falls as they crashed the 10 metres to the rocks below, you’d realise that Bob Hope was back in town ready for another cameo!!!!! 🙂

He had a frozen expression on his face as he realised he was powerless to do anything about it…… but luckily his projected route went straight past me and I was reaching out for him….. and just as he was inches from the edge I managed to grab hold of his forearm, pulling it up and placing his hand on a rock so he could get a grip and support his own weight…… I swear, it was that close!!!!!

Yeah, I saved a Germans life!!!! Yeah, yeah …. I know, I know……  what was I thinking!!!!! Dont give me a hard time about it!!!! I’ve been doing that myself!!!!!! ;-)….. I’m only joking…… I do actually really like the Germans, they’re great people……. I do I tell ya!!!!….. Why does nobody ever believe me when I say that?!!!! I’ve found that the English and Ze Germans 😉 have so much in common…… except that they’re more organised and we have more of a laugh!!!! We are all Angles and Saxons after all….. well, maybe our darker cousins (who are also English) aren’t, but at least they can pretend to be if they want!!!! :-)……………

* You see the English are pretty much a mongrel nation anyway…. we’ve got a bit of everything in us….(and I’m so glad about that Viking bit!!!!!….. definately makes me feel like more of a man after all those girlie Normans started spreading their seeds about!!!!), and what I’ve discovered over the years is that being English is not about race or colour, or bloodline or culture…….. its about an ideal….. a common ideal amongst a group of people who share the same values and cherish the same things…… its about the ideal of liberty and freedom, of justice, tolerance and fair play…. for all people……. whomever they are and whatever they’re doing……. and it’s about standing up for the defence of those liberties in the face of oppression.

I’ve met many people who are not ethinically “English”, but who live in England and are far more “English” to me then some of those who claim to be as a blood right. And as a result I feel that anyone is welcome to live in the land that I was born into…….. as long as their intentions are positive and they hold dear to their hearts the same ideals that I have refered to.

*……… and I’m sure there are many nations and peoples around the world who hold the same ideals close to THEIR hearts too…. so maybe we are, after all in fact, part of the same nation. *

I was talking to a Scotsman a couple of days ago and it turns out that New Zealand isn’t as free as the first impressions suggest….. they’ve got some really anal procedures restricting liberty too. Jim wanted to do a walk through a national park and it turns out he has to book everything about that walk in advance……. book going on it, state where he will be on each day and book the nights accomodation at each place before he sets out!!!!! So much for doing things spontaneously at your leisure!!!! And of course you have to pay for the priveledge of walking through nature…. apparently all monies going towards conservation……. conservation being an army of wardens policing the parks making sure that you dont walk off the designated paths!!!!

Apparently this is all in the pursuit of making sure people are safe….. well that’s great….. everyone’s safe but nobody has any FREEDOM!!!!!! I mentioned to Jim how I feel that England (Britain) really is one of the freest countrys in the world and he said…  “Its interesting you should say that, cos when I’m out in the countryside around Fife, I always pick foreign back packers up….. and whenever I ask them what it is about Scotland (Britain) that they like the most….. they always say the freedom”.

…..and I feel its no coincidence that the Magna Carter was signed in England (even if it did infact gave away power to the church!!!!) and the first modern democracy was born there (even if democracy is a lie, in fact, if there’s no choice!!!!). Now these aren’t the ramblings of some kind of patriot!!!…… I’m well passed that now….. but I was once and that phase of my life helped me to understand a lot about the passions of tribalism and its limited thinking…… and this is also not a rant to tell the rest of the world how great ….. Britain is! 😉

In fact, it’s the opposite, its to make the people that already live there, and who haven’t travelled, REALISE WHAT THEY”VE GOT AND TO REMIND THEM OF WHO THEY FUCKING ARE! And to help them understand why so many people desire to live in the United Kingdom and why those freedoms are worth standing up and shouting the odds for as the falsehood which is Blair tries to undermine those civil liberties in the name of fictious anti-terrorism measures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry…….. got a bit carried away there!!!! :-)……… but felt it had to be said….. heard about the ID card melarchy the other day and wasn’t happy about it……… it’s a stepping stone to something bigger.

Ok…….. I was going on about what I believe it means to be English……… and from now on when I say England or English…… read Britain or British…….. because I think this has got something to do with the British Isles as a collective…….. and as much as Englands Celtic neighbours will want to spit at the fact :-)!!!!….. we are, for all intense and purposes, the same people, with the same way of looking at the world. Isn’t it strange how sometimes we can be drawn into hating the very thing we most resemble….. perhaps because it’s a reflection of ourselves and we’re not comfortable with it!!!!….

…………and all this Englishness is summed up in one word…….. Cricket….. And to truly understand the English and their mentality, you first have to understand the game of Cricket!!!!! And more to the point……. watching Cricket…….. you see, for the English………. it’s not about winning at all costs……….. it’s about having a laugh while living in the hope of winning, no matter how long it takes!!!!! 🙂

It’s a perculiar oddity with England that we’re terrible when things are going well and we’re in the driving seat…… we seem to fall to pieces at the easiest hurdle…… but when our backs are against the wall and all hope seems lost…… it inspires a passion in us which enables us to perform the most amazing of miracles!!!! That’s why the Ashes brought so much joy to the English people….. not only were they were won in pure English fashion……. against the odds, showing touches of genious to get in front, falling flat our faces allowing the opposition to catch up and going on to scrape past the post in style!!!!!!…… but they also captured that passion of hope in achieving glory!!!!

And although, like many nations, England always has the greatest of expectations for itself……. the most glaring difference between England and the rest of the world is that what we respect the most is not a winner…… but the person who’s willing to take on all the odds in the hope of winning!!! And it’s no surprise that some of our greatest heroes are also amongst our greatest failures!!!! A la Eddie the Eagle Edwards again!!!!!! Or Frank Spencer!!!! 🙂 ….. We love someone who tries their heart out and fails, just as much as someone who wins in style…… because it doesn’t matter to us about the winning or the losing……… what matters to us is how they conduct themselves throughout the act of winning or losing. And if we do happen to win……. it’s never the easy way!!!!!!!! 🙂

And away from Englands mirage of misery and its dramatic failures…… it remains a nation steeped in hope…… and even in the midst of defeat…… hope continues to spring eternal…….. hope for a better day………. hope for a sunny day ;-)……… and hope for the glory!!!!! 🙂 And many many times, when all seems lost……. we haven’t given up…… and we’ve found that glory…….. because deep within our hearts we know that even if we fail……. from the ashes of disaster, grow the roses of success!!!!!……. And for us…… they’re English Roses 😉

Daaaa Daa daa da daaaaa da………… daa da dadada daaaaaaaa 😉 …….. last night at the proms hey!!!!…. What would you do without them!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

And that should apply to everyone no matter what nationality you find yourself to be……. it matters not what blood runs through your veins or the flag that flies above your head or which government speaks in your name……… what matters are the values you hold dear to your heart and the qualities that make you human. That’s what makes a nation. And that’s why everyone can speak English!!!!! 😉

And so back to those people I like so much, Germany and the World cup!!!! ;-)….. and the hope of an England Germany final!!!!!! It’s what everyone wants….. well apart from Brazil, France, Argentina, Italy…. etc, etc!!!! 🙂 May the best team win……. it’s only a game after all ……. Cricket that is!!!!! Come on England!!!!!! 😉 *

………. With relief, he managed to hold on and clamber up on top of the falls, and as he stood there, catching his breath and composing himself…. he looked at me and said… “You saved my life”… I said “It’s cool….. you can buy me a beer later if you want” and smiled. He looked at me with a blank face and wandered off into the water, continuing to take liberties…….. but only now……. Diabolical had convieniently departed!!!!! 😉

And he never did buy me that beer in the evening!!!! Which was cool….. I never did see anyone buy Superman a beer and god knows how many lives he’s saved!!!!;-)……… and it turned out he was skint anyway…… well…… skint by choice…… he reckoned he only had $15 to his name in cash because, although he had travellers cheques, he didnt like to cash them……. because when he cashed his travellers cheques….. he ended up spending his money!!!!!……. “What the fuck!!! That’s what it’s there for!!!!” I said with a hint of taking the piss in my voice……. but oh no… he prefered to starve all day, everyday, only spending money on his accomadation and the odd pancake!!!!!

Meanwhile…….. he would stare at everyone while they were eating, with a look on his face which said droul was imminent!!!! It was actually quite unsettling, because literally everytime someone paused from eating to participate in conversation (and maybe temporarily put their knife and fork down)….. he ask if they’d finished….. cos he was after the left overs!!!!! I found it to be a bit rude…. and quite frankly…. embarassing…. but he was a good lad though, so you couldnt hold it against him! 🙂

But as my adventure in Tadlo went on, I continued to meet some beautiful people…..

Love and Light,

Miller