The Word – Talking about Laos

I MAY HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT greener and less grizzled when I first came to South East Asia over a decade ago, but I still prided myself on being pretty clued-up about the world.

Unlike my schoolmates, I managed to keep my eyes open as Mr. Mitchell droned on in Geography class and my ensuing knowledge of obscure capitals, mountain ranges and rivers made me a force to be reckoned with when it came to collecting the blue wedges in Trivial Pursuit.

Despite those years of teenage diligence, however, I have to admit I was dumbfounded when I arrived in Bangkok for the first time just prior to the millennium. My then- girlfriend, who had been travelling in the region for three months, confronted me with a ready-made itinerary.

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