26 April 2007

Hot, hot hot

It is 9:45pm and it’s still 34.5 degrees according to my little alarm clock my sister gave me. Last night at midnight it was still 32 degrees. I think it hit 40 degrees during the day. I think it was this hot when I got here mid- March but for some reason, my heat tolerance has been low this weekend. It has been quite an ordinary weekend- I have just been hanging around home because of the heat. Our little black cat has been trying really hard to impress us today. This morning it caught us a little brown bird and in the afternoon it caught a mouse. It was definitely whingeing louder than ever when it wanted to show us it’s prized catch. M decided that we’re going to deck it out in Western gear ie a collar with a bell.

Last night I had a bit of a food nightmare. We had bought a barbequed fish from the local street stall. The fish was very minimally processed. It was not scaled and definitely not gutted. I picked up a bit of the fish and took a smell. It stank like garbage. My housemates had a smell and refused to touch it. I was sure enough that the smell was from pa dek (Lao fish sauce) rather than from the fish being rotten, because it tasted quite salty. I didn’t like the pa dek smell, but was determined to eat a few bits of the fish that were untainted. I eventually gave up and we decided to give it to the cat over a few days, storing it in the freezer, so it wouldn’t stink out our fridge. I volunteered to do this, as one of our housemates admitted she couldn’t touch it, and I figured the others thought the same. I started to break apart the fish when I noticed there was a whole pile of greyish worms inside this fish I had eaten. Yuk! I know that from my limited study of worms I can’t really catch anything from them, but still, I’m not going to eat fish for a while. 24 hours on I’m still alive so I think I’ve survived! I’ve been one of the lucky few in the group of volunteers to not be sick. My stomach has really held out well for me. I have Eating World and the fumes from kebab store I inhaled every morning in Sydney to thank for making my stomach strong.

Funnily enough I still can’t work out what my address is. I don’t think our street has a name and to officially describe where it is we can name the number of the turnoff along the main road. If people need to find us we usually give them directions from the nearest landmark. I think that’s how people navigate here- there isn’t really a properly scaled map of Vientiane. Today I road my bicycle in the 30 degree heat to the city and back. It’s 4 kms each way. I was fatigued on my last km coming home, so I think I need a bit more practice, and adjusting the seat might help too. Some children laughed at me because I was wearing my full- face motorbike helmet.

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