I only seem to feel like writing when I’m ill. Crippled by food poisoning, I’ve been curled in my hotel bed all day. I’m in Luang Prabang, Laos right now, but I have no idea what the town looks like. My hotel is charming, though. It’s called the Villa Nagara in the middle of town and for $30 a night, we have two dark, wooden shuttered doors that open to a small square room. An inventory: two wicker armchairs, pale gold drapes, a stained glass window with green, orange, and blue panes, glowing beautifully in the afternoon light, simple wooden furnishings painted white, more wicker–a woven tea tray, a woven tissue holder, a delicate woven box with a selection of teas, coffee, and sugar packets.

BBC World News is humming in the background. Outside, bird calls and a rooster that’s been crowing nonstop for hours. Laos is the last leg of my Southeast Asia trip. I’ve been traveling for 30 days today. My hair is much longer, my skin is tanner, spotted with mosquito bites, and thanks to food poisoning, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight.



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