Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Power of Corn

It's been a long hot day. We've just finished at the third health centre - this one doesn't even write down the number of births. On top of the core team of four, we have the provincial immunisation manager and a district representative along for the ride - four of us squished across the back seat as we bump along dusty roads. The driver's collection of cheesy soft rock blares through the speakers as my colleagues sing along: "Cos I am your ladee! And you are my maaaan..."

Abruptly, a whole lot of chatter breaks out and we pull over at a bamboo hut in the middle of a barren rice field. A minute later, I am handed a plastic bag full of sweet corn. Very recently boiled sweet corn.

"Whenever you reeech for mee..."

I try to unpeel my cob. As does the laughing provincial manager. Bump. Boiling water drips all over our legs.

"... gonna do all that I can..."

I get to practice one of my few Lao words as cries of "Hon! Hon!" (Hot! Hot!) erupt around me. The corn is indeed very Hon, and near impossible to hold. We jolt along, sliding from side to side, hot corn squeaking between our teeth. All I can do is giggle.

"We're heading for sumwair... somewhere I've never beeeeen..."

Monday, March 12, 2012

In Luang Prabang

Am getting geared up for a whirlwind tour of Laos - spending each of the next 13 nights in a different town! Our pilot day went well, we've tweaked the questions and most importantly, I got my two traditional skirts back from the tailor in time to meet with the provincial health director tomorrow.

An afternoon wandering the old Royal palace and striving up the hill to a stupa was a lovely way to start- there'll be a fair bit of car time ahead!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


There's a nationwide shortage of tonic water.
None in the country. For the last four months.

Just what is an expat to do?

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Tuk-tuk into town: 15,000 kip
One month bicycle rental: 250,000 kip
Chinese made helmet: 110,000 kip
Bike light: 17,000 kip
Having my own transport after trusting a real estate agent who can't read a map: priceless.