Nobody really saw what happened to Marlon Brando (alias colonel Kurtz) when he was struck on the head by Martin Sheene in Apocalypse Now. We could only assume that he died. However, in Apocalypse Now II (Even More Now) - as we imagine - it becomes clear that the colonel miraculously survived and fled up the Mekong River to heal the gash on his bald head. So we started there, by the Friendship Bridge in Nong Khai, popping malaria pills and planning our search in the jungle of Laos.
Unfortunately the search crew got drunken thus spending six days to recuperate on the Vang Vieng air strip used by the Americans during the Indochina War. Even though the bomb raids ended more than thirty years ago the Saisombun Special Zone still have some security issues, with an occational tourist accidentally caught in line of fire and then getting the face cut off with a knife. This disfiguration is merely to hide the f@ck-up, an act that works the opposit way because this is only done to westerners. "Hey, look at that mince face. Yep, another tourist."
Anyway - about our recuperating - in the absence of western pharmacies we turned to ancient Asian therapy such as bicycling in the countryside, swimming in underground caves, and floating down rivers on bloated tractor tubes. We even watched a film, something I had not done in a very long time. Other key words are bungalow, banana pancakes, hammock and sunburn. Slowly but steady we became fit enough to realize that the colonel never made it to Vang Vieng. In other words, a search further north would be in vain. We had to drive back south, which was nice because on our way north we oozed through the Lao capital with an ignorance that makes the Ku Klux Klan seem excited about African architecture.
The Buddha in the Tham Phu Kham cave was not colonel Kurtz
Vientiane is a peculiar riverside capital because there is a hundred meter buffer zone between the river shore and the city. That is, hundred meters of nothing. In other riverside settlements they cannot build their houses far enough into the riverbed. Some places they even acquire bulldozers to make more land and so the river slimmer. But not in Vientiane. Ah, who cares, they seem to think. After an hour of promenade you realize that the locals are laid-back about most other issues too. In a central road crossing a tuk-tuk (taxi) and a moped crashed. Now, if this was in e.g. Germany an ambulance would have been on the spot within minutes. Then Derrick would show up. Not to forget the wonder dog Rex.
Posted by Erik Saue at March 07, 2006 12:24 AM GMT
Vientiane accident: How are you doing in there? Can we get you a Coca-Cola?
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