October 2003

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October, 26

October, 26     TOP
Written at October, 24 on 33 very small notepads and sent by   Mail
Hope, I decoded Anettes handwriting correctly:

Such a long time ago and still haven't finished my diary. So before I'll tell about my last months back in Germany I should finish off my last days in Laos and Thailand.

I had a quiet and lovely day on Don Det. The french couple I had met in Champasak before was on Don Det as well. On the way back for the only place selling cigarette papers I did meet them in one of the small cafes and tried to improve my french again. They were going to leave the next day again, so it was just a brief meeting, but still very nice. During the day I started on my friendship bracelets again and later on went for a long walk along the old railway track, one of the french experiments.

The next morning Brad walked pass my place, it's lovely to meet people again, you shared some nice hours before. The rest of the day I started my workshop in beading. Quite funny, after a while I had several women sitting around me, absolutely interested in what I was doing. So at the end I offered then to teach them how to bead bracelets etc. This workshop lasted for several days at the end. And I got to know a lot about the women and the village life.
The big difference for me to Cambodia was, that both countries are extremely poor but the Laotians still are a community. In Cambodia the Khmer Rouge destroyed the communities, no one is trusting anybody, and a lot of NGO's are just putting their energy in building this trust up again, but Laos never lost this trust in it's local communities. It's a bit harsh description for Cambodia but it is what it is most missing.
But back to Laos and Don Det. The first days while I was staying at my place there were two Germans there as well. They got to know a familie where the daughter Kia had cut her foot. It was a very deep cut and badly infected. She lost the movement in two of her toes. The main problem was that her mother couldn't afford to go to the doctors. Kia is a lovely 3 year old child with one of the nicest smiles I've ever seen. Anyway, this couple had all the medicine with them to help Kia. Because they left the other day they asked me to go on cleaning the foot and dressing it as long as I would stay. So I got introduced to the family and for the next couple of days I went over twice a day to look after Kia.
My only problem was that I got so sick that night that I felt quite shaken. It's no fun when you don't know if you throw up first or go to the toilet.... So I was more or less knocked out for the next days, living on plain rice, bananas and black tea. Good cure, it always works.
So Friday 13th was the day to move on, I felt much better and I had explained to Kia's mother how to go on looking after the foot. So my hosts took me over to the next village and I spent about 10$ on school material which was two big bags full. After seeing that poverty in Laos I thought I could do some good with that.
The bus took me to Pakse where I stayed for one night and found the slowest internet I've ever came across with. My trip to Koh Chang started the next morning at 7 am. I won't tell in detail, just that much, a samtheow (Oops! Never heared this word. Decoded it wrong? Karsten) to the border, where I nearly missed the immigration office because it was so hidden behind souvenirstalls, then two pickup trucks to get to Ratchanthani, 5h waiting outside of town at the bus station, overnight bus, motorbike from busstation to busstation, 2h sitting at the busstation in the early morning, bus to Chantaburi, bus to Trat, and then I got stuck. Nobody going to thr boat... and going on my own would have been a fortune. So I got together with the samtheow (samtheow ...again this funny word. What did you mean, Anette?) drivers, very nice bunch, offering me food, looking out for a lift for me and then they found a taxi that was going that direction, and the funny thing was that they were bargaining with the driver over a good fare. Strange things do happen.
So I got on the boat, had to take another taxi and by that time I had spent 29h travelling. You can image how my spirit was, I was in no good mood anymore....
After walking from one resort and hotel to the other I found a place where I didn't have to buy the whole place. I mean, who's spending 800 Baht for a hut??? At the end I got a hut for 200 Baht, a lot considered what I had paid till then, but then it was my last week and I just wanted to spend some days on the beach doing nothing besides reading, swimming, having my cups of tees and once in a while some conversation.
And that was what I did, getting up at 6am, going for a swim, having a cup of coffee with a guy from Vienna who's spending half a year at that place for the last 8 years and always brings his coffee and espresso machine with him. Then I met Kim who's living in Spain, but doing same business in Thailand. A really lovely woman and the one I had a lot of talks about the situation in Cambodia etc. Her friend arrived a bit later he was good fun as well. Because they were going to Cambodia instead of Bangkok Kim gave me her busticket back. So that was sorted.
And then suddenly I figured out that my flight was going a day earlier than I had thought, bugger. So Thursday, 19th was my last day on the beach and I had a very relaxing day. I just made the most of it.

Friday I went back to Bangkok, back to the same guesthouse and yes, all the stuff I had left was still there. Giving myself a treat I went for a 1 h thai massage, got my photos done and sorted my things out. The next day I spent wandering around, did my last shopping and another 2h thai massage. But it was a weird day, knowing that that night I would fly back to Germany after all that time. And to make it even worse, right in the middle of the winter and still a long way till spring would come. And then not knowing what to expect being back there. I wasn't looking forward to it. But I always told myself that it would only be for half a year.
At 2.25am Sunday morning 22.12. my flight departed, stop over in Kuwait and then to Frankfurt. And of course, mist, rain, cold, whatever you like, welcome home.

Arriving in Dortmund I wasn't sure where to go to, I hadn't told any one that I was coming back that day. So my first steps took me to the Cafe Corso. And I met nearly everybody there, got a place for the night and left the next day to see my family. Big mistake. I should have given myself a couple of days on my own. But there was not a minute since I got to Dortmund where I was alone. So of course I had a fantastic argument with my family without wanting to and I must admit I was quite glad when I got back to Dortmund and had a few days on my own again. I didn't show my face at my parents place for nearly a couple of month. By that time I had started working again at the Cafe Corso, although they didn't need anybody (haha!). So back into the old life more or less. Getting involved with things but always with that feeling it's only for a short time. I will leave latest in July.

So I saw a lot of old faces, met some new people, and had a quite good time. Things don't go too much to your heart when you know you're only there for a short time. I sorted out my things, gave away my clothes and a lot of other things, went to the flea markets, selling off my stuff, gave my furniture, well the rest of it, to my parents and my younger brother, stored some things at my parent's place and just tried to free myself from as many things as possible.
And always the question where to go next, what to do. Well, what to do was not the biggest question. After I had been asked over and over again to teach English in Asia, I decided on taking a TEFL course. So I made a big research, partly because I was afraid of really applying for a course and making a decision. The decision felt while Johann came to see me over Easter. It's funny when you've got some one with you who's never been in your area. We did so much sight seeing, I went to places I'd never been before. Anyway, I applied for Oxford House Collage in Prague to take my TESOL course there and they took me straight away. So I bought some books and started preparing myself for that. The course was about to start in July, so I had still some time left. But that went quickly. Suddenly it was my birthday and had farewell and birthday party at the same time. Two days later on the 29th June I was back on a plane, this time going to Prague.
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