Lonely Planet may call Laos home to ‘possibly the most chilled out people on earth,’ but one look at the average expat’s weekly activities schedule would certainly suggest that this statement does not apply to falang. Falang throw themselves into their extracurriculars with unrivaled enthusiasm. Some sort of entry exam gauging a falang’s propensity to engage in communal hobbies surely must exist. How else can you explain the fervor with which people engage in not only relatively common pastimes, such as frisbee, but also, two weeks after arriving, find themselves the proud owner of a ukulele and a newfound love for singing ‘Over the Rainbow’?
A falang’s extracurricular schedule speaks volumes, and as such, must be as carefully cultivated as their Facebook pages. There’s the ‘sporty falang’ who isn’t afraid to risk heat exhaustion to sweat out last night’s Beerlao tower. Then there’s the ‘artistic falang’ who is just as comfortable showing off at the weaving demonstration as they are singing their heart out at Kong Khao’s open mic night. Of course, there’s the ‘culturally aware falang’ whose constant references to boat racing practice-induced sore muscles get old long before the end of Buddhist Lent.
And then, there is the ‘well-rounded falang’, the pinnacle of expat perfection. How can mere mortal falang ever hope to compare? Let’s examine the weekly schedule of one anonymous well-rounded falang for some tips:
Monday: Frisbee practice.The well-rounded falang lives for Monday night disc sessions. Not only is this a great time to socialize with other sporty falang, but it also provides an outlet for releasing some of their ‘saving face’ tensions.
Tuesday: Despite thoroughly enjoying the latest culinary discovery along with their Foodie Group compatriots, the well-rounded falang skips out on dinner early to prepare their Nerd Night presentation on random gene expression in Sri Lankan mermaids.
Wednesday: A grueling evening of boat racing practice. The falang debates merits of a massage at Oasis versus a steam session at Wat Sok Pa Luang but the Fun Group has something up their sleeves.
Thursday: The Nerd Night presentation is well received but the well-rounded falang feels a bit guilty about missing ukulele practice, and is going to have to make someone teach them the chords to ‘I’m Yours’.
Friday: On Fridays they go to Sticky’s. Even the well-rounded falang has to draw the line somewhere. A pre-6pm run along the river is acceptable, however.
Saturday and Sunday: The well-rounded falang takes full advantage of the weekends to engage in as many activities as possible. Weekend pastimes vary. Mix and match from at least 3 of the following: frisbee, open mic night, boat racing practice, trivia night, Hash House Harriers, bowling, netball, Fun Group festivities, casual pickup soccer, Team Dai ride and choir practice.