I flew to Laos alone to deal with visa issues, the complicated details of which I won’t delve into – mostly because I’m still not really sure of them myself. It took four days, during which I ate pizza and croissants and chicken masala and fresh spring rolls and drank all the coffee.
I slept hard on clean white sheets under freezing air conditioning, watched bad movies on a worse television, wandered a huge night market but bought nothing except an Oreo milkshake, went to a bar alone and drank Beer Lao with strangers who turned into friends, and wrote two songs.
I rode a red motorbike everywhere, in the rain and on dirt roads. I made friends with the visa agents and drank and ate with them for an entire afternoon and into the evening. I climbed the Patuxai Arch in the morning and stayed too long at the top because I had nothing better to do than to watch the umbrella-covered tourists multiply below me.
What began as an annoyance (and the burning of a bunch of unnecessary funds) ended up turning into a peaceful trip – and a important break from the rush of my daily life in Bangkok.