Monday, February 23, 2015

Lao Trip 9.1b - Khem Khong Restaurant

Dropped off right at my favorite guest house in the area, I was checked into my usual room (B15). Almost immediately, however, I was disheartened to note Seng Chalerm’s continued slide downwards in terms of upkeep and service. Most notable was the lack of a functioning recepticle for plug-in electricity. So, even though I had lights and air-conditioning, I was without TV. What was as bad, was the new somewhat attractive girl who checked me in had even tested it and found it not working. She just left me to it; no follow-up action.

After doing laundry and showering, I headed into town to buy minutes for my Lao sim card, called Thip, and bought some bread and fruit at the outdoor market. I was surprised to find both floating restaurants closed, so headed back to PL2 and the Khem Khong restaurant, where I knew I could get a beer and some dinner.

The owner definitely acknowledged that she recognized me, this time, and asked where I was staying. After I told her, she pointed to her new guest house across the street, at the same price, with free WiFi. I thanked her and proceeded to order some spicy beef, basil and rice (#23), along with a Beer Lao and bucket of ice. The food was good, but would have preferred a leaner cut of beef. The one beer grew to two as a motorcycling group from Thailand dominated the scene along with a smaller, separate group of local movers and shakers.

After eating, I tried my smartphone out and discovered a hole in my smartphone translation plans. The software I had loaded onto the phone could only function via the Internet, which rendered its usefulness minimal given that most conversations I have with Lao people are not in areas covered by WiFi, nor do I invest in data plans via my carrier. So, I would need to download stand-alone dictionaries if the smartphone was to be any use in helping me translate and be translated.

I got caught up on world events and was happy to see my oldest son Das sworn in for his third and final term as a California Assemblyman, representing the greater Santa Barbara area.

As the second beer kicked in, I found myself thinking more and more about Nuey and our possible reunion. Whenever I thought about it, now, it got me on edge, because the situation was just so impossible. I’ve written about it before, in private, so I won’t go over it again, but some of it can be found in the Lao Trip #7 series.

Before leaving Khem Khong, I said good night to the owner, who was busy cleaning huge, 4-feet-long Mekong fish, along with her daughter or daughter-in-law; never had seen a fresh water fish so big.

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