I’m not a fan of bowling, despite it being a favorite pastime of some of my favorite people in the world. The combination of finger food, shared balls, shit beer, and personal let-downs just doesn’t appeal to me.
But the other night I managed to make an exception. It wasn’t because bowling suddenly became fun for me, it was the insanely odd situation I had found myself in that made this Thursday night exceptional.
A surprisingly little known fact: the most bombed country in the world is Laos. A less startling, yet still bizarre, little known fact; Luang Prabang has a bowling alley that fills with foreigners from night to night. And this bowling alley happens to be where I found myself spending my Thursday night in Laos.
Upon arriving, the judgmental hipster in me instantly wanted to hate the place as I entered it.
“Where are all of the locals?”
For me, this was a disgusting display of western drunken influence on an old and beautiful culture. I instantly wanted to distance myself from it.
Stuck there until my current travel companions decided to leave, I soon found myself as a fly on the wall.
There I was, alone in a room full of foreigners from all over the world getting drunk and making fools of themselves. It was disgusting, it was intriguing, it was… Beautiful?… The anthropologist in me was suddenly intrigued.
You see, back at home when entering a busy place full of people who you don’t know, its a bit odd to sit down at a random table and easily join in in a conversation with strangers.
But we were in travelers land!
No one really knew anyone, except the few traveling with friends from home.
Belgium, Argentina, China, England, Australia, Switzerland, Egypt, France… Everyone was from another country! Everyone was getting along, united by the oddity of a bowling alley in a small town in Laos.
This was a beautifully insane thing.