A Bit of Laos

Laos. I suppose I should write briefly on that subject considering I have a book set in the country coming out next week. I lived in Laos for nearly three and a half years and during that time made some of the best friends of my life. I also consumed an unholy amount of alcohol, tried to kill myself twice, and in general mucked things up by performing at the level of a delusional alcoholic who thinks he’s functional.

That said, there are amazing things and terrible things about the country. To touch on the latter, first, my employer lost his entire investment to business partners and the government over the period of several years, despite efforts to bring international powers to bear.

The good, though, are the people. Those who have not been corrupted by power or money or cars or prestige tend to be good and genuine people. They are friendly and will share a beer if they have one. They like you even more if you buy the beer and share it with them. And the beer . . . Beer Laos is amazing. It’s a lovely lager with the taste of mountain spring. If that’s a taste.

After dating a guy intermittently, he told me that it cost a thousand dollars to get a job in a ministry, which paid him the same amount of money as he was currently making, a hundred dollars a month. But shortly after he got the job, he started posting things on facebook about cars and houses and property. A really interesting anecdote concerning the way that money and power works in Laos.

Why did I try to kill myself? Well, one time, the first, I was coming down off a trip on Ketamine. That just riddled me with depression and as I was sitting at my computer at work, the idea of trying to off myself just seemed like a good one. So I tried it. Luckily, you can’t really kill yourself with Valium, a small dose of Ketamine, and copious amounts of Beer Laos. The second time, I think I was drinking so much that the alcohol overcame the meds and I went whacko.

Luckily I had an understanding boss.

But Laos is a great place. I would like to go back, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to resist the urges of drugs and alcohol for very long. I plan to visit, but that is all I can promise at this point in time. Until I know I can live without the booze in those triggering atmospheres I must abstain. Otherwise I won’t write, and I won’t accomplish the things I want to accomplish.




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