ANOTHER QUIET AMERICAN

Discussion in 'Laos - General Discussion Forum' started by SuziQ, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. SuziQ

    SuziQ Ol'Timer

    This talks about an intern's 2 year experience as a consultant at the Laos Tourism Authority. The writer was only 27 at the time so his account is somewhat 'sweet and naive'. But he described the main town center pretty accurately and it made nostalgic reading. Laugh. I could identify some one of the gals he mentioned. Brent left Laos in 2000. I arrived in 2003, nothing much had changed between his exit and my arrival. Except after the 10th ASEAN business summit (towards the end of 2004, if am not mistaken.)
    During my last visit in DEc '06, the crime rate still hadn't abated. I recall some local gal fried herself on power lines. I wonder if things have gotten any better in terms of public safety...
     
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  3. SuziQ

    SuziQ Ol'Timer

    REPLY TO MY E MAIL:

    Dear Suzi,

    Its all relitive, I don't believe the crime rate was ever 'bad' compared
    with other countries. It is much safer here in Vientiane than for example
    Sydney. And as for the recent spate of banditry well, who knows, nothing
    is ever reported and its difficult to get any facts.

    cheers..

    ...............................................................

    My reply:

    I was comparing it by Vientiane standards. it wasn't as bad when I arrived in 2003 by the 2006... it was bad.
    I have friends who work at the different embassies and say that the robbery incidents were increasing. Thieves often wielded machetes.

    Nothing on official record perhaps but the accounts are passed by word of mouth. The details seem to be the same. Both locals and expatriats worry about the crime rate.They say it is coz many have become amphetamine addicts and thus the aggressive and violent behaviour. It's hard to believe that some local youth have gotten that way.

    On the last trip back, a local said a lao youth entered a restaurant. mistaking one of the patrons for a friend, he tapped him on the shoulder. The youth died - from a near decapitation.

    why would people would make up stuff like that?

    I personally know of a couple (expatriats) who were knocked of their motorbike and robbed at machete point. Fortunately, they had their crash helmets on and so did not sustain any head injury. 3 of my frineds had their home burgled while one was mugged outside her house when she got back from a party. 4 youths roughed her up and made off with her bag. Beth was all nerves afterwards. she left laos some months later.

    Some tourists were at the wrong place at the wrong time and were chased and slashed.

    things weren't like that before. Things have changed, Vientiane used to be such a 'Sleepyhollow'.
    my two cents worth...
     
  4. thebamboorat

    thebamboorat Active Member

    Suzi,

    in which bad-arse part of Vientiane do you spend your time???? I know a lot of "stuff" doesn't get reported but in 4 years I've never experienced or heard of anything as bad as this. Some of my friends have been here for 10 years plus and none has ever related any anecdotes to match the Baghdad at Night scenario you're painting. One or two have had their houses broken into but shit like that happens everywhere. None of my Lao friends has ever had a story that bad to tell either. I would suspect that "Lao whispers" have been at work to arrive at tales of people being beheaded in restaurants. As in Vietnam the penalties for injuring a cash cow, ooops -"tourist", are pretty severe. Severe enough for the locals to do a lot of very serious thinking before randomly slashing a passing tourist.

    I tend to lead a pretty quiet life here. Rare visits to disco's and very few parties (mainly because I don't get many second invitations) However I quite often find myself making my way home very late at night on the trusty Honda Wave from my girlfriends place - a 15 to 20 minute journey through the middle of town to Kilometre 4. I don't know, I do tend to ride around in a dream like trance sometimes and maybe I'm not paying much attention to what is going on but I would be very suprised if things had gotten this bad.

    Anyway that's my 2 kip (0.00021 cents) worth....
     
  5. SuziQ

    SuziQ Ol'Timer

    Right in the city centre close to the fountain. The info came mostly from the Embassies and from NGO personnel. i don't know why you and ur friends did not about hear it but we did and were concerened about it. probably different circles of friends? Many of the robbery victims were our acquantainces (maried couple among them).The people to whom this happened where a mix of both locals and expatriats.

    Anyway, it good that nobody robbed or attacked you.

    Relax, BRat. You sound wound up. I speak of incidents I know for a fact happened to people I know and am relating what I heard. The dude in the restaurnt was so badly slashed they said his head was nearly severed.
    IF these things are pure rumours, that's good news. IF not be cautious when out around town.

    Ride in safety. Peace and goodwill to all man.
     
  6. thebamboorat

    thebamboorat Active Member

    Suzi,

    sorry, didn't mean to sound as if I was getting wound up. It's just the things you're talking about seem so far removed from my experiences of this place that I was a bit gob-smacked to read about them here.

    I can understand not hearing about your friends being robbed in the streets. That sort of news would definitely be kept under pretty tight wraps as it might discourage tourists and if we didn't know the same people then, as you say, it might slip by.
     
  7. SuziQ

    SuziQ Ol'Timer

    Ok.

    I loved every moment of the 2.5 years that worked and lived in VTE. Was attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Not a day passes here that I do not miss the sight of the sunrise on the Mekong or the monks in orange as they collect alms in the morning. So, i understand that you may be (what's that word?) "gob smacked" about it.

    I had to leave Laos cos I fractured my collarbone on the eve of Pii Mai last year. Snatch thief.

    when it happened the Lao neighbour watched but did absolutely nothing. He was too afraid to do anything.

    The couple who lived next door , Aussie, work for OXFAM. the husband always cautioned his wife and I on personal safety citing past incidents for examples. His bought his wife pepper spray (mace?)

    I guess being in completely different circles does play a part, BRat. [:)]
     

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