First time I post my photo, this is the nicest picture that my dad took of me during our trip to Laos and Thailand, sorry to cover up part of my face, not that anything is wrong with it, but I just want to show you that like most Lao people going back, I tried to blend in with the locals and failed miserably. Actually, this photo might be more appropriate for my post Ghost Town in the Sky.
Like most Lao people going back to Laos, I was so certain that I’d look like one of the locals, so first thing when I left Wattay Airport, I ditched my camera bag for a local bag that I bought at TalatSao (morning market) in Vientiane for 30,000 kip ($3.53.) I was told that you can spot a tourist if s/he carries a backpack, carries a bottle of water, wears sunglasses, so I ditched all of them. Instead, I carried a local bag, wore my flip flops, no shades, and yet I still look different, a bit puzzled.
One of my relatives said that it’s the way I carried myself, dressed a bit too western, a bit too big for a typical Lao female, at this point I just hope that she meant big as in tall, and not as in fat. I think my complexion also looks different, even though I got darker, but it’s a different shade of darkness.
Did that mean that I’ve to pay foreigner’s price to get into the temples and places? I’m happy to say no, even thought I might look western, but my Pakse accent confirmed that I’m one of the locals, that I’m from Pakse. Also, it’s important to learn how to use the kip currency, as most Lao people that visit Laos don’t want to be bothered with it because it‘s confusing, it‘s in 1,000 kip to 50,000 kip bill. I noticed at one point, I used the Thai Baht and they thought I was Thai.
I read in blogs, and comments written by Lao people that when they do go back to Laos, they’ll blend in with the locals just fine, I was one to think this way, and now I know that it’s impossible, our environment shapes us of who we’re today. And when you do visit Laos, I hope you’ve a great time.