Making the most of it

Why is it that we find it difficult and at times completely fail to appreciate what we have before it’s too late? Sometimes I find myself regretting something when it’s already too late and the opportunity has passed. Lately I’ve been thinking about how an expiry date can wake one up to see the world around them with much more enthusiasm than when there are no major mile markers in sight. Even though I don’t currently have a definite end date to my adventure in Laos in the form of a one-way ticket home, I have realised that my time here is limited and it’s high time I start making the most of it in case I wasn’t before. Here’s what’s on my list:

Rock climbing – a plan from the beginning that didn’t start realising until some weeks ago for many reasons, with poor road conditions and the rainy season topping the list. So far I have conquered some of the magnificent limestone formations in Vang Vieng and soon I’m heading south to Khammouan province, where a new climbing centre was recently set up by a German couple. Stay tuned for updates!

Last climb of the day (6a)

Learning to ride a motorbike – although the number of cars on the roads is constantly increasing, Lao people are as Asian as their neighbours in their affinity towards riding motorbikes. Why shouldn’t I give it a go? Especially when both Laos and Finland are signatories to some international traffic treaty that makes it possible for me to change my Lao motorbike licence to a Finnish one when I return home. Having overcome a major case of sloth, I finally signed up with a driving school some time ago and successfully passed my tests earlier this week.

Improving my French – not really the most obvious choice but learning more Lao makes very little sense to me at the moment. But being in a former French colony makes it relatively easy to learn French: reasonably priced quality teaching is available and there are many people to practise with – short of living in a totally French-speaking country is doesn’t get better than this. Currently enrolled in an evening course at Vientiane’s Institut Francais du Laos.

Travel – as my work didn’t take me around the country to the extent I expected, I need to make an additional effort to see the country. Unfortunately a regular weekend is nowhere near enough time to explore Laos given the distances required to travel, the poor road conditions and the lack of 4WD in my car. Luckily I have some friends visiting in the coming months so I can take some leave and venture to the south of the country.

Whilst writing this: Winter has finally arrived in Finland and my friends and family seem to be spending a lot of time cross-country skiing. As temperatures here in Laos are climbing there have been days recently when the temperature difference between the two countries has been 60 degrees or more.

Currently reading: After having finished ‘Disco for the Departed’, #3 in the Dr. Siri Payboun series, I’ve finally started reading ‘Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts. With only 30 pages in I have a feeling I’m gonna enjoy it a lot. I’m also loving my new Footprint guide to Diving in Southeast Asia that brings past and future dive trips one step closer to my landlocked existence here in Laos.

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