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  • Day126

    A Little Break in Vientiane, Laos

    October 5, 2019 in Laos ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    It is a wonderful thing to take a break from my intensive Thai learning in Chiang Mai by making a “visa extension run” to the capital of Laos. I am here, actually, to obtain a new, two-month tourist visa, which can be extended an extra month.

    The whole visa business in Thailand is labyrinthine to begin with, and because of a new federal immigration officer, it borders on sadism. Even my simple little visa had a twist: one now has to make an APPOINTMENT to hand in one’s application! Not knowing that ahead of time cost me a flight cancellation and re-booking, two extra nights of lodging, and agony with a slow response from the Thai Consulate when attempting to get an appointment. Everything is in order now, and I shall pick up my new visa in two days.

    That said, the extra days are GOOD for me! Although it is beastly hot, I amble around the capital all day long, stopping in at mercifully cool cafes to study Thai, and then heading out again. I cover 5-6 miles a day, just looking around, and brazenly starting up conversations with anyone who looks interesting. I say, “Please forgive me, I can’t speak Lao, only Thai. Do you speak Thai? You do? Fantastic! How old is your beautiful baby? What is the name of this vegetable? How do you cook it? Your Thai is excellent!” And on and on. Don’t worry—I read body language, and never bother anyone who isn’t game to chat. I do learn some excellent bits of information, and hear a few stories as well.

    The effect of the wandering/study is total relaxation. I can see that if I am more peaceful about my Thai learning, I will be much happier. Every day I do my flashcards, read a short essay in Thai about some aspect of Thailand from a new reader, and listen to a recording of a lesson with one of my teachers. I obviously practice on the streets with my hapless Lao victims. When I get back to Chiang Mai, I shall keep up with my relaxed approach and accept where I am with the language.

    Here are some photos of Vientiane. Although I am not being a tourist at all, I enjoy my strolling immensely.
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    Traveler

    It sounds great! Most people really appreciate it when “foreigners “ learn their language and use it I think. Your commitment is total no wonder you fit in so well!

    10/5/19Reply
    Traveler

    Glad you're enjoying your break. For some reason, I don't see any photos.

    10/5/19Reply
    Speak, World

    Find Penguins published my draft before I could add the photos! Their new system has changed posting a bit. Anyway, there are photos in now.

    10/5/19Reply
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