One of the many charms of South East Asia is its beauty of imperfection. For example, you enter a bar, or at least a place resembling that. At first sight, everything seems fine, until you look more into detail. Nothing is what it seems. You are the only customer, and you order a beer. Multiple times this is followed by the question: One? Yes, of course, how many beers do you think I was going to order on my own?
Or take a closer look at the decoration, every time you will notice something is wrong too. The shade of a light bulb which has come loose or whatever. Some people will get utterly annoyed by this. But in my opinion, there is an unmistakable charm involved. Willing, but not being able. Would you be happy in a world where everything falls into place?
The girlfriend question
As I start talking to one of the bartenders, a guy of just twenty years old, it doesn`t take him long before he poses the mandatory question on his part. Do I have a girlfriend? He fancies Western ladies. The best advice I could give on that was to stop wearing those ugly glasses. More success guaranteed.
Earlier that day, after a long trip from Luang Prabang to the capital city of Laos, Vientiane, I was utterly exhausted. The hotel of my choice was full, but I managed to find a room further down the street. I booked for two nights, a worn-out room but with all facilities. Imperfection, again.
After dinner in a posh restaurant, I stroll to the Mekong river, looking for a more cozy bar. While walking, I am repeatedly approached by tuk-tuk drivers asking me if I want a lady. Prostitution does not exist in Laos you know. All of the girls who approach me on the streets are ladyboys. Whatever turns you on, I would say.
Freakshow in Vientiane
Eventually, I end up in a Tex-Mex bar-restaurant. Two Laotians perform famous folk and pop songs on amplified acoustic guitars, some songs are more successful and sound less out of tune than the others. As the evening progresses, the place turns into a freak show. A mama-san emerges with her company of Thai women, children actually. This does not alter the fact that some foreigners are trying to get in contact with them. Even the local old hippie makes his appearance with the Thai babes. None of them are successful in getting them to their hotel room though.