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06 January 2006

devolved into more or less a binary configuration

enough of transport and nothings, it was time to take in some lao culture. after breakfast, i walked over to the royal palace museum, dropped my shoes off on the shoe racks, dropped my pack in a locker, paid for an entrance ticket, and walked in wearing my tk2's (i'll explain the tk2's later). the former royal palace was now a museum, thus the name, the royal palace museum. the walls decorated with battle scenes. warriors, horses, elephants which seemed more like horses with trunks and tusks than elephants, each comprised of chunks of mirrored glass. several beheadings and random mirrored glass body parts. i followed the thirteen panels of a famous buddhist figure; interesting if not bizarre storyline. the library, the royal seals, the bedrooms. outside, i stood and gazed at the centuries old golden buddha figure, the pha bang, after which the city was named.

i ran into sam and rhia at the next stop on the day of culture, wat xieng thong, built in 1560. the familiar golden buddha figure amongst a uniqueness of dusty rugs and wooden beams. the glass tiles again. the dragon funeral carriage. sam and rhia had rented bikes; the third stop on the day of culture was rhia's ultraretro pink hello kitty bike.

at some point between the palace and the temple, i decided that i should be moving on in laos. stopped into a travel agency and bought a minivan ticket despite the potential bandit risk along route 13. mike figured a minivan would be better able to outrun the bandits than a large vip bus. i agreed.

in the evening i walked over to a decaying bridge that i'd seen from the top of phu si and then returned for dinner. the van would be leaving at 0815 tomorrow. i paid the guesthouse and then ended the day with some writing.

almost forgot... the global reconnaissance sock narrative. i left the states last april with five pairs of white over-the-calf length tube socks. i don't think the label on the socks said 'tube' per se; i think the term was 'athletic'. regardless of the term, they were tube socks. unlike most children of the 80's, i never outgrew the white tube sock phase. in fact, only a few years ago i spent a considerable amount of effort tracking down a store which still sold white tube socks with colored stripes (of course, by that point in my life, my wardrobe had devolved into more or less a binary configuration of white and black and so my stripe color of choice was black... not quite as awesome as the stripes i rocked in 1985 but every bit as tubular.). the socks i brought with me last april weren't striped, but that's not the point... the point is that they blew out in less than two months. holes in the heels. holes in the toes. by the time i returned to the states in june for jenn and jamie's wedding, i was down to only two pairs of holeless socks. i stocked up on another five fresh pairs... this time taking care to select the heaviest and presumably most durable brand. i'd switched out my combat boots for the just-above-the-ankle hiking boots (blech) and without the combat boots i'd be wearing the converse chucks more often, so i decided to go with the low profile cutting edge crew length model rather than the high rise over-the-calf model. these new socks lasted a little longer than the first batch, but by the beginning of october i was back down to only two pairs of holeless socks. white tube socks just weren't cutting it for around the world travel. it was time to upgrade.

before leaving for india, i bought two pairs of falke tk2 hikingshoe coolmax® performance socks at an outdoor store in amsterdam. that's right, these socks had a model number... the tk2. the socks cost 17 euro. per pair. i wish i'd saved the packaging that came with the socks because as i remember it expounded on the various features of the socks... the built-in graviton impulsion system, the hyperbolic resonance boosters, the ultrakinetic fusion generators... and if that weren't enough... they were labeled with a big L and R so that there was absolutely no way you could put them on the wrong foot (which is exactly what i did in chiang mai, thailand, after they came back from a laundry service bundled in homogeneous pairs. for two days i couldn't figure out why one foot was sore and getting blisters and didn't uncover the reason until i went to put on the second pair and discovered two R socks wrapped together. idiot.). anyway... the entire point of this narrative was convince myself that spending 34 euro on socks was a good decision... in fact, one of the best investments of the trip. i have been rocking the falke's for two and a half months so far with absolutely no sign of sock fatique. when i get back to the states, the blue jeans will revert to black jeans. the brown hiking boots will revert to the black combat boots. the socks will stay. i am a sock convert.

posted by paul on Fri 06 Jan 2006 at 00:00:01 est (-05:00)


oh man, that sock business is classic paul.

posted by calvitron on Tue 07 Feb 2006 at 14:09:56 est (-05:00)

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