4. Bragging Rights

Life as an expat in Laos is a constant struggle to “out-do” other expats in Laos. Though a few facebook photos in a tuk-tuk may be enough to impress armchair traveling friends at home, they are of no interest to the hordes of other falang in Laos. Anecdotes that illustrate a more adventurous or authentic lifestyle are an important currency in falang conversation.  Well-integrated falang derive their bragging rights through numerous channels: “cultural encounters,” extreme travel, uncomfortable experiences, and length of time living abroad.  Overheard at Sticky’s, 7PM, Friday night:

  • When my Lao friend took me to his village his grandmother gave me this disgusting blood soup.  I didn’t want to offend her so I just had to eat it.
  • Remember when Sunset Bar was still open?
  • The people in Myanmar are just so kind.  You really haven’t been yet?  You have to go before it gets ruined by backpackers.
  • Ugh, I got so sick of the rice porridge at the Udon hospital when I was there for dengue.
photo via: kimchimaiden.wordpress.com

photo via: kimchimaiden.wordpress.com

If a fellow falang is telling you about the time they were bitten by a spider while conducting surveys in Phongsali Province and had to negotiate for local medical care in a combination of Khmu and Lao languages, and end their story with “it was no big deal,” then you are interacting with a truly advanced falang.  Your bragging rights stories will have no effect on this person.  Move on to Bor Pen Nyang Bar for better luck.

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5 thoughts on “4. Bragging Rights

  1. […] than ever for them to share their foreign and completely one-of-a-kind escapades.  This allows for posturing with other falang abroad, eliciting shocked and envious comments from falang not adventurous enough to travel, and amassing […]

  2. […] “the best Asian beer,” and any disagreement will be a welcome opportunity for them to brag about how well traveled they are, by comparing it to Singha, Bia Hà Nội, and Bintang. Until you […]

  3. […] tourists then they certainly expect to get something out of the deal. There is easier time to brag (with less of a chance of someone one-upping you) than on […]

  4. […] First though, my friend Anne from Part Time Traveler found this gem (and I had to laugh at most of the posts!)  :  Stuff Lalang Like […]

  5. […] provide perfect fodder for two classic falang pastimes—complaining and bragging. What falang hasn’t sat through at least one conversation with a sympathetic look on their face, […]

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