There are many things I enjoyed about my time in Laos. For instance, there were lots of interesting things taking place around my house. Next door was a vacant lot that kids use to hang around. They were particularly agile and capable of climbing the 10m tamarind trees. Sometimes if I was sitting in the garden I would occasionally here a voice calling out, or even singing, from the tree tops. One time I saw what looked like someone washing their hair. Another interesting feature of the house was a guard tower in the back yard. I have no idea what it is for but gave a ominous sign of the recent history of more politically unstable times.

The novel, White Tiger, recently won the Booker Prize. It was written by an Indian-Australian. Thematically it’s about the difference between the rich and poor in the economic boom of modern India. It deals with the inequality essentially making the employer to employee relationship one of master to slave. It some ways I think this definitely applies to Laos. I though the novel was quite good and would make interesting reading for any Westerner living in a developing country.

When I think about Laos, I think about the skinny street cats with broken tails. Contrasted against the fat pet cats in Australia, it is a incredible image for the disparity of wealth. While at a friend’s house in Australia they remarked that their local stray cat had become so fat it couldn’t climb their fence to leave their backyard. It meowed until they opened their back door to let it out. A Lao cat is lean, fast and agile. An Australian is obese, well fed, and very domesticated.