A bit of a flashback...This is a picture taken at the Foreign Serivce Institute in Virginia way back in June 2004, moments after we found out we were headed to Laos. Damn that was a while ago. So young and impressionable.
And now, here we are.
I'm well on my way to becoming the greatest badminton player of all time (you all remember quest #3, right?) I've yet to buy my own racket, but once I do, I'll be unstoppable. Everyone knows that you can purchase superior sports ability by getting the most expensive equipment possible.
More (or less) importantly, depending on how much importance you place on my becoming the greatest badminton player of all time, I'm getting into the swing of things at work. Visa interviews continue to be a large part of my job, but I've been getting out a bit too to introduce myself around and get the lay of the land. Monday I visited a) the tourist police b) the police that accomodate visits to Americans in prison, and c) the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where I made a new contact who plays golf. So I've got a golf date some weekend after our clubs arrive.
I also went out to the Buddhist Temple where we do cremations of Americans who pass away and whose families decide to cremate rather than repatriate the deceased. I met with the head Monk to thank him for his continued help, give him a new year's gift (Lao New Year being in April), talk about a bit of a strange case that may involve exhumation, and to talk about the problem of Visa fraud by fake monks. He was very thoughtful, old, and beatific. Very interesting. I'm going to visit a number of temples in the coming weeks to try to enlist them in helping us combat visa fraud by fake monks.
Anyway, tomorrow I'm off to the bridge that connects us to Thailand to introduce myself to the head immigration cop there. The bridge closes at night, but in the case of American Citizen medical emergencies, I have to get them to open the bridge so we can get people to the hospital across the river. We generally do not recommend that Americans avail themselves of the medical care in Laos if at all possible.
I'll let Katherine update you on her goings on.