January 20, 2008

dec 06 - 03

[081206] Cat reaches home from lab at 11.30PM. Parents flying off the next day to met the pig in Hawaii but yet to pack luggage(!!). Cat packs pig stuff for parents to bring to Hawaii till daybreak. Cat koons from 6+AM till 10+AM. Cat wakes up to continue packing pig stuff & then go for wushu at Ai Tong...

[1?1206] US-based pig sends cat a bunch of USD5 & USD1 notes - small change for use in rural Laos where no banks for changing USD to LAK, & villagers might not have enough $ for change for larger USD denominations since average daily income = USD1.

[141206] Cat leaves lab at 11.30PM & SBS gets it home at ~01:00AM. Cat collects dried laundry. Cat falls asleep on floor kneeling down - the ultimate quadriceps stretch!

[151206] Fish-eating at Heeren Sakae with man-maid, bigfatwhale & tuition teacher. 碟仙 die2 xian1 (ouija board) becomes 'fallen angel'. Whale wore a T-shirt with a picture of an elephant...for scale? (since whales always appear as 'centrefolds' in encyclopedias with Boeing 747s & red London double decker buses lined up for scale =P) As usual with 3 wushu guys, ended up sitting at an open space watching them bi3 hua4 wushu taolu ;)

[161206] Last minute packing & prep for Laos trip, ignoring everyone who thinks the cat is mad (for going solo on such a trip)...because the cat has always been mad ;)

Almost exactly two years ago, the Akha Way Expedition team stopped by Sop Ruak during a tour of the Golden Triangle (more than 10 years since the cat's last visit), were boated across the Mekong to the tourist trap of Done Xao island, & spent an hour on Lao soil. The cat saw the Laotian alphabet script for the first time:


'Same same but dii-fer-lern' from Thai script...the cat was particularly intrigued by the snake-like letter 'S' in 'Xao':


...which brought to mind Aescapulus (serpent symbol of medicine from ancient Greece). & it was fascinated by how certain Lao alphabets had those little circles (at the start of the stroke when writing the letter) where their Thai equivalents didn't (e.g. consonant 'k' for chicken & the long vowel 'aa'), & how 'X' was used in romanisation (not found in Thai).

Here on Done Xao the cat saw Lao sinh (skirt) for the first time, including a purple silk one with a most beautiful 'dtiin johk' ตีนจก or 'dtiin siin' ตีนซิ่น (the 'border' at the hem of the skirt, usually the most intricately woven part), which was way beyond the cat's budget.

& the cat decided that one day it had to explore the Laos that lay beyond this little Mekong 'sandbar'...

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