During the past couple of days we’ve been on the search for a house. Houses here cost around $350 to $600 USD per month to rent. A and I will probably rent with a Melbournian guy D and a Queenslander girl M. M has already been brave enough to buy herself a new Korean motorbike and ride it around! The Chinese bikes are at the bottom of the range but at least no- one will steal it. The Korean bikes are better, but you will have to kick start it once you’ve ridden it for a few months. Japanese bikes are best, but much more expensive. Some of the girls have bought 70s retro Honda Supercubs which will do the job. I’m going to ride around on a bicycle until I get a feel for the roads before I even think about buying a motorbike.
Today we got a motorbike lesson ie ride around a car park, which is not quite to Australian standards. One of the poor girls rode into a pole and is getting checked out at the hospital, but at least we know nothing’s broken. Virtually all the motorbikes here are the ones with the auto- clutch. There are very few scooters here, which was unexpected, so I won’t be getting one.
There’s a house we like which is close to work, which is good. I think there’s another interested party so we’ll have to negotiate. It has 3 big bedrooms and maid’s quarters out the back. The house is generally quite roomy with a really nice garden. It does need a good clean up though- it had heaps of dead cockroaches when we inspected it. It hasn’t been lived in for a while.
Yesterday I went to the markets. They’re very colourful! Also very hot, it was very close to 40 degrees under the covers. One of the guys bought a bag of steamed silkworms. They were in the stage of their life where they’re in a cocoon. I think it’s called the chrysalis stage. I did not eat one- I have a phobia of caterpillars and even if I didn’t, I’d still be very hesitant. A said it tasted like a wet peanut. Another said it tasted like a mixture of dirt and grass. They all agreed that frying would be a better way of cooking them. No- one particularly enjoyed them. I bought some material to have a few Lao traditional skirts made (called a sinh). Hopefully they’ll be ready soon because I don’t have anything else to wear to work!
A couple of nights ago I had my first Lao clubbing experience. The government has imposed a midnight curfew so the club closed a little after the curfew at 12:30. I could have been in Sydney, it looked like a club back home but played mostly Thai pop. Last night we saw some French band play called LoJo which were pretty cool. Their members look late 30s, sound a little folksy as they had a go on a few instruments. A few young kiddies, 5-6 year olds come to pick up the empties. All the foreigners were out. They had a Lao boy band supporting. I haven’t ever seen a boy band before, they were quite amusing with their catchy music, cool clothes and dance.