I arrived in Huay Xai on February 8, 2012, looking forward to the Gibbon Experience - ziplining above the treeline, from treehouse to treehouse, swining with the gibbons. Oh, how things wouldn't work out like I wanted.
The boat brought me across the Mekong River from Thailand into Huay Xai, Laos, and I immediately set off to the hotel, to drop off my backpack and get something to eat. On the way, I stopped to book the gibbon experience. FULL. All booked up for four straight days. DAMN!
Unsure whether I'll stay or not, I go to the hotel, drop off my bag, and check online to see what there is to do in Huay Xai. One thing - the Gibbon experience. Nothing else. DAMN!
Standing in the small corner of the hotel where the wifi signal is strong enough to get online, I meet a couple fellow travellers - Heather-ann and John, both of whom had just completed the 3-day gibbon experience. "Absolutely incredible" they tell me. "See lots of gibbons?" I ask.
"None. But, yesterday, one of the people I was with thinks they saw a gibbon about 150 meters away."
"So what was so incredible if you didn't see gibbons?"
"The ziplining is simply amazing" says John. Heather-ann quickly agrees with him, and adds "and the treehouses, where you sleep, are pretty cool as well."
"Is it worth waiting around town for 4-5 days, especially since I've done ziplining a couple times previously?" I ask.
"No," they quickly retorted. "You'll go crazy in this town for that long."
That answers that question, but I've got one night booked at the hotel, so I'm stuck there for a night.
As I often do when in a foreign town, I strap on my sandals, and go off walking, figuring I'll inevitably find something that excites me.
Nothing. But walking back, I see the Lao Red Cross offering massages, and with a price of just $5 for a massage, I figure why not.
The receptionist instructs me to shower first, put on a fresh robe, and then a lady will direct me to the massage room. Okay, showering makes sense, so these massage therapists don't have to deal with the stench of all the travellers coming in.
I shower, and with the robe on, I exit the private shower.
As I'm struggling to open the lock to the locker, so I can put my clothes inside, two elderly Asian ladies clad in their robes stride past. "Sabadie," they say, smiling.
As I greet them back, they stop at their locker, just a few feet to the right from me. It is at this moment that the shorter lady removes her robe and exposes her naked body in its entirety to me.
Yes, an elderly asian lady, COMPLETELY NAKED.
Now, I wish I could say that I was able to avoid seeing anything except for a side-glance of a breast or something. But no. Full frontal nudity, enough to make the scene not suitable for an R-rating from the MPAA.
What was even more shocking than the image of an elderly naked asian, was her apparent disregard for modesty. She didn't cover herself back up, didn't use her arms or hands to block certain body parts. No. Just stood there for a good 15-20 seconds while she got her dress out of the locker and slipped it on over her bare body.
I have nothing more to say. I have horrifed myself, and probably so many others. And sorry to those perverts out there into 70-year old asian ladies - no photos were taken.