Gabriel Shaya
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Multiculturalism at it's Best

November 25, 2009 @ 2:50 AM | Permalink

Multiculturalism is a good thing, right?  Luang Prabang is known for its mix of cultures: its Lao and French architecture, its Buddhism and spirit worship, its traditional practices in a modernizing city.  But, after a year of life here, I've noticed these convergences pop up in funny places and in the most unique of ways... 

I have a Lao friend who dresses like a cowboy and sells cocktails (having been taught by a Thai mentor) at a Vietnamese-owned bowling alley run by a Chinese family and frequented by foreigners. 

There is a Thai restaurant here where the Lao staff can serve your choice of Indian food or JFC fried chicken. 

At the main intersection in town, you can find Vietnamese people selling kebabs in French baguettes.

A German couple sells ice cream with flavors like BeerLao and Thai durian. 

At the Scandinavian Bakery, you can order a Mexican pizza or a hot dog with a side of mashed potatoes. 

You can find shops in Dara Market where Vietnamese people will sell you Chinese-made copies of American shoes.

A hip Hungarian woman runs a bohemian-chic bar where pictures of Marilyn Monroe and Gandhi adorn the walls. 

I once went to a party at the Vietnamese consulate, where I watched my foreigner friend dance Lao-style to Vietnamese songs being sung by Lao women in both languages, under a tent made from American parachute, while eating French food and being served whisky by a Hmong exchange student trying to speak English. 

A few Brits work for an Australian NGO here, saving Asiatic Black Bears from poachers who want to sell their parts to China. 

A Dutch guy with a Thai wife owns a tapas restaurant with his French business partner.

My Indonesian friend works with an Australian volunteer program to teach computer to Hmong kids at a project run by an American. 


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Gabe, When I see you next, can we drink beer with ice, and can we line dance, the whole time twirling our hands? I miss you very much. Love, Mafalda

Mafalda Marrocco on One BeerLao, Please. With Ice. 2009-09-02

This is so cool. You are the greatest. Keep up the good work . The world needs more people like you. Enjoy your journey. Julie Nguyen, Potomac, MD

Julie Nguyen on One BeerLao, Please. With Ice. 2009-09-04

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