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Friends for Christmas

What’s the best thing Santa can possibly bring for Christmas? Friends, of course! We got not one, but TWO (really good ones), all the way from Alabama!

In the wee small hours of the Christmas morning, Papa Noel (Santa Claus) brought Noe two new tios (uncles/aunts in Spanish). This was no small feat for Papa Noel — 39 hours of transit time across four flights, AND a three hour delay coming into Vientiane around 3:30am in the morning. If we have the means, we make it a point to pick up our visitors at the airport with few exceptions — generally out of principal, but also because our house is virtually impossible for random taxi drivers to find if we’re not in the cab.

As you may recall from previous posts, spouses aren’t permitted by Lori’s employer to drive work vehicles, so I don’t drive here in Laos. So, Lori went to the airport to fetch our friends while I stayed behind with Noe, and it’s a good thing she did, as all the taxi drivers had gone home for the night, leaving many stranded at the airport — not surprising here in Laos, just kind of how things roll.

Needless to say, the three of them were pooped. Still, the Mister was up and ready on Christmas Day at his usual 6:30am. We had some yummy pastries Lori had picked up the day before and got on the chat horn with family so they could see Noe open their gifts.

He loved all of his gifts, but his favorite on Christmas morning was this gift bag and…


Noe loved laying the pieces on the floor in different arrangements, then standing back to admire his handiwork. He did this for the next two days.

Around mid-morning, our visitors emerged from the guest room, just in time to see what Papa Noel brought them (besides tropical warmth and sunshine, of course).

You may remember Caroline and Jason from their visit to Belize volunteering at Hillside clinic (including amazing Lime Caye), or even on our brief stay in Washington, DC between Belize and Turkey/Africa? They’ll be with us for the next ten days. We’re excited to have them, and even more excited that we get to travel with them for an entire week up in rural Northern Laos, farther north than we’ve ever gone in the country, exploring a region we’ve never been. More to come on that.

In the meantime, here’s Noe getting maximum enjoyment out of a gift from his Tio and Tia.


Stocking time!

Off to Kung’s for brunch!




And, one of our favorites, KuaLao music, dance & dinner.



Around town with our visitors.

I let Noe loose in a small grassy garden at one of the historic sites. When I saw him approach this flower bush, my first thought was that he was going to pluck the flowers off. Instead, he did the exact opposite. He bent down to pick up one of the fallen flowers on the ground, then proceeded to try and put it back on the bush. Just as I was starting to gently tell him that’s not the way it works, the flower somehow stuck back on.

Needless to say, he was quite pleased with himself (for repairing the flower bush or making his old man look like an idiot, I can’t say for sure…)

Back home to finish the job (on the evening of Boxing Day).


In the spirit of the season, Lori had a 24-hour bug, promptly following my 24-hour bug, promptly following Noe’s. As always, thanks Noe for sharing.

Fortunately, our visitors brought their own bugs with them, and we somehow avoided exchanging our respective “Christmas gifts,” so to speak.

Ever heard of these miraculous things called colored pencils? The staff brought them out at a trendy cafe we all went to and we didn’t hear a peep from Noe for the whole time we were there. Amazing.

Almost as amazing, our two-for-one Happy Hour cocktails at Senglao Cafe.

The reason for our friends’ three-hour delay out of Seoul was weather-related. Seems there’s yet another typhoon bound for central Vietnam. Looks like some dry-season rain on the way tomorrow, just as we prepare to hop on a plane into the northern mountains. woo… hoo…

26 December 2017

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Jeanette BaileyLoriJAN FULLERTON Recent comment authors
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Can’t wait to read your next post on your visit to the northern mountains. Noe is such a little trooper!


Thanks! He really is; he has learned to just roll with whatever we throw his way!

Jeanette Bailey
Jeanette Bailey

Love the pics of Noe enjoying Christmas!