Angry Frenchman

Trip Start Jan 30, 2012
Trip End Aug 08, 2012

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, Louangphabang,
Sunday, July 1, 2012

We had an exceedingly lazy Sunday today loafing around at the appropriately named Utopia which looks out onto the Nam Khan river, watching a huge thunderstorm and both equally engrossed in our books.

The highlight of my day, apart from skyping Katie, was most definitely listening to a completely irate Frenchman going ballistic at the staff at our guesthouse, while they giggled like naughty school boys. I couldn't quite work out what had happened but I believe it was something to do with a key being misplaced and therefore this Frenchman was yelling repeatedly that "I have lost ten minutes of my evening!".

Now, I feel for the guy. I really do. I don't know if he had a hot date that he needed to get to just realised he'd left a candle burning in his room but the reason I mention this is because this minor incident reminded me of something that I read about Lao culture, which is apparently defined by a particular branch of Buddhism (Theravada Buddhism, to be precise. And yes, I did have to look that up.). My knowledge of Buddhism is basic. In fact it only consists of two steps: Realise The Four Noble Truths, reach Enlightenment. I'm sure its not quite that simple but I do know that strong emotions are taboo. Mr Unreasonable's aggressive bluster wouldn't use gotten him very far at home but seeing first-hand how incomprehensible his rage was to the two guys laughing at him in Reception put the whole thing in to context. These fundamental religious beliefs extend far beyond the behaviour of individuals but also to politics, economics and the whole psyche of a nation. Fascinating stuff.

I did feel sorry for the guy but to be honest I think we could all do with a little dose of the Buddha's teachings and realise that a case of misplaced keys, lost hamster, missed train or whatever will not ruin your day and is no reason to ruin everyone else's. Chill out, you're in Laos!
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