Laos Journal

This is a brand new feature for this blog: I’m transcribing selected entries from my old travel journals. Currently I’m working on a batch of new posts set in Laos. I hauled out the journal I kept on our first visit to make sure that my memories match up with the facts. My descriptions from that trip are raw. I use a travel diary to record first impressions and get down the details to go over later (like now, years later). I’ve decided to post some of them here for your amusement.  — Jadi

“13 March. The heat and humidity are too huge to move quickly. Despite them we’ve kept up an ambitious sight-seeing program.

A 1,000-year-old site we visited with our guide on yesterday’s tour:

Buddhas in the Angkor Wat style carved out of boulders in the jungle. And, not twenty feet away, a spirit altar by a tall tree. [1]

No one’s allowed to build anything on or near the site. But the locals come there for ceremonies and celebrations. It had a rather hushed and holy air as we stood on the jungle (forest) floor in the welter of the afternoon heat at Vang Sang. An elephant graveyard was once found nearby!

90 kilometers north of Vientiane we stopped for a boat trip on Ang Nam Ngum, an artificial dammed lake.

A long boat of Laos with packages waited on the adjacent boat docked there. They were from one of the many islands and had come in on a once-a-week boat trip to do their shopping.

The buildings all high on stilts for the rainy times. We had my favorite meal so far in this trip: a soup with fresh Chinese vegetables and tofu and vermicelli noodles – it may be the freshest ingredients in a soup of this kind I can remember. And a lake fish grilled whole with garlic and ginger and lemon grass and cilantro; and it was all just too delicious for words.

… I’m quite intrigued with the very old spiritual energy this country possesses. Little spirit houses beside trees. Sticky rice offerings on tree trunks.…

Now we’re down at an open pavilion-style café on the Mekong River. It’s receded with the dry season, almost to Thailand. Weird to think Thailand is so close. The river’s so low you could practically walk there.”

NOTES: [1] The Lao believe spirits called phi (similar to nats in Myanmar) inhabit certain places such as rivers, mountains, rice fields and groves of trees. animism in Laos ©Jadi Campbell 2018. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. To see more of Uwe’s photos and pics from our trips go to viewpics.de.

Click here for my author page to learn more about my books and me.

Introducing Pia Newman

Pia Newman, Übersetzerin / Webtexterin / Virtual Assistant, currently in Cape Town, South Africa

Allow me to introduce an amazing woman! One of my writing buddies and best friends here is Pia Newman, aka the Planelope. [1] She spent a weekend here recently, to visit with me and the others from a group of friends who used to write together on a regular basis. And drink while talking about writing. And laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

Pia’s been off on a grand adventure. Make that: Grand Adventure. She’s seeing the world with an entity known as the WiFi Tribe. We as her friends are living vicariously, following along as Pia resided and worked first in Bali, then in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and now in South Africa.

Pia first discovered the WiFi Tribe last year on FB. She was looking for a way to travel more while working, and not necessarily by herself. She’s gained a community of like-minded digital nomads who travel and grow together. Pia gets new motivation from shared creative energy, just like what she used to have with her local writing group (us). But with the WiFi Tribe, she gets to see the world….

A maximum of 25 (usually 20) people in any spot at any given time makes the experience intimate and truly tribal. At the moment there are 3 tribes for 2018: Africa/Asia, Europe, and South America.

Working at home has lots of distractions (don’t I know!).  What excites her most about the WiFi Tribe is that it’s a work group that really, truly works. As Pia says, “If you work around other people typing away 40, 50, or 60 hours a week, it will motivate and inspire you too…”

But I’ll let Pia speak for herself. She writes an awesome blog about her experiences. You can get information on her book projects, too. So, everyone, without further ado, here’s Pia!

Pia Newman: Writer & Digital Nomad/

NOTES: [1] We call her the Planelope because no one plans like Pia. No one. She used to get up to write at 6:00-7:00 before going to a full-time job. If her dedication isn’t bad enough, her productivity puts the rest of us to shame too: she’s already written 8 first drafts of novels and polished 3 of them. And in 2012-13 she did a one-year course online to get credentialed as a screenwriter. If she wasn’t so wonderful we’d seriously hate her. ©Jadi Campbell 2018. Photo by Julia Kallweit.

Click here for my author page to learn more about my books and me.

The Animal Kingdom: 23

Here is installment #23 from my blog thread describing what to call groups of animals … See how many you can guess. Answers listed at the bottom of the page.

  1. This bite bites.
  2. The cluster clustered at the bottom of the bowl.
  3. The draft drifted in the draft.
  4. The descent descended, making their way around the tree trunk.
  5. The rabble wasn’t bothered by the rabble.
  6. The plump plumped up nicely in the pan.
Cluster, Kanchanaburi, Thiland

Answers:

  1. Bite of midges
  2. Cluster of beetles
  3. Draft of fish [1]
  4. Descent of woodpeckers
  5. Rabble of insects
  6. Plump of wildfowl
Draft

NOTES: [1] Also the depth of water a ship draws. The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Assocation has a very long list of endangered fish species. /www.nmfs.noaa.gov © Jadi Campbell 2017. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. To see more of Uwe’s animal photos and pics from our trips go to viewpics.de.  Fun animal names from www.writers-free-reference.com, Mother Nature Network and www.reference.com.

Click here for my author page to learn more about my books and me.

The Animal Kingdom: 20 — HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Happy New Year, Everyone!!! My gift to you is Installment #20 from my blog thread describing what to call groups of animals … See how many you can guess. Answers listed at the bottom of the page.

  1. Man, a flamboyance is flamboyant!
  2. See the run run.
  3. Is a zeal zealous?
  4. I saw a rainbow rainbow!
  5. The route kept to the route.
  6. Did you find the bazaar at the bazaar?

Answers:

Rainbow part, Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
Rainbow part, Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
Rainbow part, Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
  1. Flamboyance of flamingos
  2. Run of salmon [1]
  3. Zeal of zebras [2]
  4. Rainbow of butterflies
  5. Route of wolves (on the move)
  6. Bazaar of guillemots [3]
Flamboyance, Wilhelma Zoo, Stuttgart Germany

NOTES: [1] Bad news for salmon populations worldwide. This website’s table says it all: www.stateofthesalmon.org [2]  The status of zebras is mostly positive. zebrafacts.net [3] I had to look this one up: the guillemot is a seabird. © Jadi Campbell 2017. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. To see more of Uwe’s animal photos and pics from our trips go to viewpics.de.  Fun animal names from www.writers-free-reference.com, Mother Nature Network and www.reference.com.

Click here for my author page to learn more about my books and me.

The Animal Kingdom: 19

Hard to believe, but this is installment #19 from my blog thread describing what to call groups of animals … See how many you can guess. Answers listed at the bottom of the page.

  1. Ooh, how the glaring glared when I started up the vacuum cleaner.
  2. The ostentation was ostentatious for sure.
  3. A sleuth sleuths slowly.
  4. Touch an electric fry and you’ll fry.
  5. The posse shot the posse and ate it.
  6. The sedge hid in the sedges.

Answers:

Glaring member, Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Ostentation, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia
  1. Glaring  of cats
  2. Ostentation of peacocks
  3. Sleuth of sloths
  4. Fry of eels
  5. Posse of turkeys
  6. Sedge of bitterns [1]
Sleuth member

NOTES: [1] Sedge is also defined as any rushlike or grasslike plant of the genus Carex, growing in wet places. © Jadi Campbell 2017. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. To see more of Uwe’s animal photos and pics from our trips go to viewpics.de.  Fun animal names from www.writers-free-reference.com, Mother Nature Network and www.reference.com.

Click here for my author page to learn more about my books and me.

The Animal Kingdom: 18

Here is the 18th (!) installment from my blog thread describing what to call groups of animals … See how many you can guess. Answers listed at the bottom of the page.

  1. This Cambodian army member should have never left the army.
  2. Nigh I saw the nye, they had vanished.
  3. The ambush didn’t ambush anything. [1]
  4. He put the purse in her purse.
  5. The leap leaps down.
  6. The conspiracy conspires to escape.

Answers:

Army deserter captured by member of another army, Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  1. Army of frogs and monkeys
  2. Nye of pheasants (on the ground)
  3. Ambush of tigers
  4. Purse of sand dollars
  5. Leap or leege of leopards
  6. Conspiracy of lemurs
Look closely. Leap member in background, Kanha Tiger Reserve, India

NOTES: [1] Tiger Temple © Jadi Campbell 2017. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. To see more of Uwe’s animal photos and pics from our trips go to viewpics.de.  Fun animal names from www.writers-free-reference.com, Mother Nature Network and www.reference.com.

Ambush, Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yanasampanno, Thailand

The Animal Kingdom: 14

Admit it… you’re a little afraid to find out what this one is…

Here is installment #14 from my blog thread describing what to call groups of animals … See how many you can guess. Answers listed at the bottom of the page.

  1. An aerie lives in an aerie.
  2. I found the idea of eating a possi impossible.
  3. The lap did laps.
  4. The whisker’s whiskers quivered.
  5. The wedge flew in a wedge.
  6. Does a chine have chins?
Aerie member, protected islands off the coast by Esperance, Australia

Answers:

  • Aerie of eagles [1]
  • Possi of beetles [2]
  • Lap of cod
  • Whisker of shrews
  • Wedge of swans (in the air)
  • Chine of polecats
Yes. Possi, Cambodian bus stop

NOTES: [1] The Endangered Species Act saved America’s iconic bald eagle. We must keep this legislation from being repealed. www.fws.gov [2] www.higherground4x4.com-more-useless-knowledge ©Jadi Campbell 2017. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. To see more of Uwe’s animal photos and pics from our trips go to viewpics.de.  Fun animal names from www.writers-free-reference.com, Mother Nature Network and www.reference.com.

Click here for my author page to learn more about my books and me.

The Animal Kingdom: 12

Installment #12 from my blog thread describing what to call groups of animals … See how many you can guess. Answers listed at the bottom of the page.

  1. The streak streaked past!
  2. A scourge is the right name for this scourge…
  3. The maelstrom didn’t survive the maelstrom.
  4. A cloud clouded the twilight.
  5. The cling clings to boles.
  6. The set set up house in the grasslands.
Streak member, Kanha Tiger Reserve, India

Answers:

  1. Streak of tigers [1]
  2. Scourge of mosquitoes
  3. Maelstrom of salamanders [2]
  4. Cloud of bats
  5. Cling of koalas [3]
  6. Set  of badgers
Cloud, Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

NOTES: [1] “Of the original nine subspecies of tigers, three have become extinct in the last 80 years; an average of one every 20 years. It has been predicted all tigers may become extinct in the wild within the next decade. ….Today, four of the remaining subspecies of tigers are considered endangered by the IUCN, while two of the subspecies are considered “critically” endangered. The total number of all the wild populations of the six remaining subspecies of tigers (Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, Siberian, South China, and Sumatran) is estimated to be between 3,000 – 3,600 tigers.” www.tigersincrisis.com [2] Click here for a chart on salamandars: Amphibians-salamandars [3] “The Arctic Fox, Leatherback Turtle and Koala are among the species destined to be hardest hit by climate change” International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) © Jadi Campbell 2017. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. To see more of Uwe’s animal photos and pics from our trips go to viewpics.de.  Fun animal names from www.writers-free-reference.com, Mother Nature Network and www.reference.com.

Click here for my author page to learn more about my books and me.

The Animal Kingdom: 6

Yet another addition to my blog thread describing what to call groups of animals! … See how many you can guess. Answers listed at the bottom of the page.

  1. A rookery will hardly rook you.
  2. The cast cast out sand.
  3. The quivering quiver swayed and waited….
  4. Culture doesn’t care about culture.
  5. This lounge member lunged!
  6. The swarm swarmed my sandwich and I couldn’t eat it.

Answers:

Quiver, Snake Farm (Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute), Bangkok Thailand
  1. Rookery of gooney birds [1]
  2. Cast of crabs
  3. Quiver of cobras
  4. Culture of bacteria
  5. Lounge of lizards [2]
  6. Swarm of flies [3]
Lounge member, Khao Lak National Park, Thailand
Cast, Khao Lak, Thailand

NOTES: [1] Ah, the gooney bird… now better known as the albatross. This magnificent bird’s wingspan can reach 11 feet! Status: 19 species of albatross are threatened with extinction. Environmental Watch [2] This particular lizard is a waran. It was bigger than me! [3] Nothing compares to the Hell that is a swarm of flies in Australia’s Outback. Nothing. Go to my earlier posts Warning: Waran!! and The Outback for more on my encounters with these critters.

© Jadi Campbell 2017. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. To see more of Uwe’s animal photos and pics from our trips go to viewpics.de. Fun animal names from www.writers-free-reference.com, Mother Nature Network and www.reference.com.

Click here for my author page to learn more about my books and me.

 

The Animal Kingdom: 4

…Here’s the next installment from my blog thread describing what to call groups of animals! … See how many you can guess. Answers listed at the bottom of the page.

  1. Grain needs a grist!
  2. The sound of the sounder almost gave her a heart attack.
  3. The flock flocked on his poor kids.
  4. Wow, the muster mustered such gaudy colors.
  5. When my bike ran over the bike, I knew I was in big trouble.
  6. The drove drove towards us in the dirt road.
Muster member

Answers:

  1. Grist of bees [1]
  2. Sounder of wild boar
  3. Flock of lice
  4. Muster of peacocks
  5. Bike of hornets
  6. Drove of horses
Drove, Northern Thailand
Grist, Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

NOTES: [1] Status: Endangered “….[P]ollinators are under threat around the world…about 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species (such as bees and butterflies) are facing extinction.” This could have major implications for world food supply, because “about 75 percent of the world’s food crops … depend at least partly on pollination.” NPR Report

© Jadi Campbell 2017. All photos © Uwe Hartmann. To see more of Uwe’s animal photos and pics from our trips go to viewpics.de.  Fun animal names from www.writers-free-reference.com, Mother Nature Network and www.reference.com.