Traveling is about encountering new people who can enrich your life with their experiences. Sometimes these experiences are not nice but interesting nonetheless.
The Laos girl
I met this girl from Laos in Bangkok… she left her family in Laos to look for her fortune in the big city. She made a living serving food in the backpacker district near Kao San Road, where I met her. This was a girl with a goal. She was here to find herself a better life, she was going to find a foreign husband that would take care of her and take her to his home country and she was very determined to succeed. And after I heard her story, I understand her motivation.
After I met her in the restaurant, we exchanged phone numbers and met up later that night for a date. Despite she was living in a one room apartment with fan and had to send half or her money to her family in Laos, she had a smart phone… I found out that she was very active on different online dating platforms. She was very realistic: “I’m 26 years old, I have a couple of good years left… I have to find myself a serious boyfried or husband as soon as possible”.
Ironically, she was using her smart phone to show me the picture of what her life in Laos used to be like. They used to live in a hut in the middle of the jungle with the complete family, three generations (grandmother, her mom, crazy uncle and the kids) in one room, sleeping on the floor. One morning the mother took the most pale looking sisters with her to find fortune in the city and she was left behind to take care of the grandmother – because she had the most dark skin complexion. White skin is very valued in South East Asia, so I can only hope that her sisters turned out for the best, she has never seen them again since.
She explained that her main concern waking up in the morning, was to get out and start looking for food for that day. Her grandmother and her, used to wake up at dawn and go out in the jungle to find plants and hunt for snakes. The uncle would go into the city to try and sell some of the plants/vegetables.
One day she had to cross a river with her grandmother… in the morning they were able to cross it by walking but in the evening it had swollen so they were not able to cross. As it was getting dark they had no other choice then to give it a go, but because of her older age, this did not turn out well for the grandmother and she nearly drowned. After that she deteriorated and became sick and eventually died, at which point she decided to leave her home country and head for Bangkok.
These are shocking stories and coming from the first world, it’s a tough confrontation with these facts that people are still living like this and worse every day. At first I was a little bit consumed by the story so I hold back on my seduction… only to turn it back on and learn from this experience. More on that later.