Tuesday, October 20, 2015


So many noises, so many stories.  Sitting in the top floor of my house, I can hear so many different fragments of stories whisper in through my windows..

To my left, the temple is a keeper of stories and sounds.  At 4am, it gently wakes me with the 30 minute banging of gongs and drums--time to wake up and meditate for the monks!  At 4pm, the gongs sound again, , and then again around 5:30, summoning all the novices and monks to pray and chant together.  Many evenings, as the sun is setting on the Mekong, I listen to the older monks lead the novices in beautiful ancient-sounding songs, their young and old voices blending together.  Often this will coincide with when I'm doing my evening yoga, with the half light and ancient monk songs streaming in through my open windows.  

To my right, is a construction project; a new hotel going up.  I hear banging, cement machines, shouts, and other alarming noises all day, and then this transitions into hoots, bottles clinking, and laughter at night, as all of the men sleep on site in little make-to shacks.  

In front of me is the Mekong.  In the evening, because it is boat-racing season, I hear the shouts "1...2...3...4...etc" as the slim boats filled with determined rowers skim past on the Mekong. 

In back of me, lives a family.  Right now I can hear all the sounds of cooking; a fire crackling, pots clanging, rice being sifted, beer lao being poured, a mother yelling for her children to help, their two watchdogs barking at everyone that passes...

In the background, the thrum of grasshoppers, the occasional "GEcko" call, the insistent mew of the temple cat stalking outside my house, distant and not so distant motorcycles rumbling to a start and stop, the jangle of Lao pop music perhaps being sang karaoke-style at a party in the village...

Later, when I'm asleep, a whole new hosts of sounds present themselves.  Mysterious gigantic animals start break-dancing in my waste bin and ceiling, insects whisper over my head; the night is taken over.  

I call this really special situation my Night Petting Zoo.  I have so many uninvited animals hanging out in my house at night, that I think I should start charging people money to come pet them and likely get rabies as a party gift.  There's a komodo dragon who lives next to my dishes in the kitchen, and several rats who I share my soap with.  

But, the sounds here.  So alive, so full of stories.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Simple Directions

The directions to my house are simple.

You simply find the only main road in town, turn left at the Korean restaurant, go past the rusting cage of monkeys (keep a wide berth), and then take a right after the first temple you see, and stop when you hit the Mekong.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

I have a home.

This is momentous.  For the first time in my life, I have my own place.  It's also momentous as it's the first time I have fully unpacked since June.

My house sits down a muddy little alley nestled alongside a temple and the Mekong.  I can barely open the front gate, I have many furry animal visitor friends that I didn't ask for, and my kitchen is terrifying.

I'm in love.

The front yard

 The formidable front gate, which takes all of my strength to open and close.
 View from my bathroom.
 View from the deck.
 My balcony.

 My deck.
 My bedroom!

 From outside my gate
 My view of the monks' bedroom. They can also see very well into mine, as I know because sometimes I see them watching me.

 The alley down to my house, past the temple.

 My terrifying kitchen, filled with geckos and spiders and rogue feral cats, probably.
My inaugural party using my awesome deck overlooking the Mekong.  It's amazing at sunset.  

Anyway, I think I was scoring about a C- in mental health before, but now that I have a place to hang my uke and run around in my underwear, all is well.  

Love and sunsets on the mekong,