Saturday, March 2, 2013

Expats making friends at the Icon Klub



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In May of 2012 I was 6 months pregnant and had just traveled 8 days (stopping in Istanbul and Bangkok) with my family all the way from Peru to Laos. We walked a lot in Istanbul and Bangkok, until we got to Laos and I got tired of the belly and the heat. And I started to do a lot of sitting around.


When we left Peru, the plan was to go to Luang Prabang in Laos and stay for three months, come to Bangkok for the birth and then maybe go back to Luang Prabang. Its been six months and we are still in Bangkok and are not sure if we'll go back to Luang Prabang at all. 

But since destiny and fate are uncontrollable, the universe made it be that we would meet someone in LP that would force us to maintain a link there. If it wasn´t for her I´m almost sure that I would never go back to Luang Prabang, now I have more than a good excuse to go, to stay or to visit. I made a real friend, maybe cause she reminds me of myself a little, who knows maybe it was just luck.



This is 20 meters from the bar.




Luang Prabang is a pretty tiny place. A small wat ridden peninsula between two rivers full of french colonial buildings and tourists passing by on the southeast asian tour. A must stop point on the Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia itinerary. Before going to LP, friends in Peru would ask, where it was that we were going, what it was like. I imagined it would be like the Cusco of Laos. in a certain sense I was right, but it felt more like jungle than mountainside.

On one of the G and Big Kiddo exploring walkabouts they found a little place off the Nam Kan river that looked inviting. G came home excited to tell me he had found a place that I would really like, that it was owned by a Hungarian woman. 

Unfortunately she went on vacation for two weeks and we had to wait...when she got back and we found her, it was instant witchy magic! Her bar, the Icon Klub reminded me so much of the little coffee shop I owned back in Cusco, in Peru. It had similar characteristics, it was small, fun, artistic and had a crazy owner!


So we hung out, made a couple of pies, very cheesy maccaroni and cheese, our daughters hung out out together and watched movies, we had campari and juice, went market and flower shopping for the bar. For two months I had a great friend who I nicknamed Mi Amiga la Hungara.

I was reminded of what its like to be an expat anchor in a very touristy place, one that serves and entertains the passers by on the way to somewhere else. Watching how lots of them stay longer than planned, how some stay for months, being almost a landmark for the town. 

Mi Amiga la Hungara is much more disciplined than me so her bar does really well and she always has guests. 







She decorated and designed the entire place herself so its like an extension of herself. 

Im glad G and Big Kiddo found the Icon Klub and Im glad Lisa owned it. Every time I went by I said, I have to come back here when Im not pregnant so I can try ALL the cocktails! I Still haven´t made it back but I hope it will be soon.

Lisa not only has the bar, she also makes amazing clothes and sells them in her boutique Lisa Regale and she also writes poetry, this month she´ll be presenting her first published  collection in Hong Kong.



This is what other travelers have to say about the club.....
Trip Advisor Reviews of the Icon Klub




MI AMIGA LA HUNGARA

En Mayo del 2012 estaba embarazada de 6 meses y acababa de viajar 8 días (parando en Estambul y Bangkok) con mi familia desde Peru hasta Laos. Caminamos un montón en Estambul y en Bangkok, yo caminaba lento pero lograba andar, hasta que llegamos a Laos y me cansé de la panza y del calor. Empecé a pasar mas rato sentada.



Cuando salimos de Peru, el plan era de ir de frente hasta Luang Prabang en Laos y quedarnos por tres meses, luego volver a Bangkok para tener a la beba y luego quizás regresar a Luang Prabang. Ya pasaron mas de seis meses y seguimos acá en Bangkok y no estamos seguros de si vamos a regresar al final. Pero como el destino es incontrolable...el universo hizo que conociéramos a alguien en LP que nos obligaría a mantener un lazo con el pueblo. Si no fuese por ella estoy casi segura que no volvería nunca a Luang Prabang, ahora tengo mas que una buena escusa para ir, a quedarme o a visitar. Hice una verdadera amiga, quizás porque me hacer acordar a mi misma, quien sabe, quizás solo fue suerte.


Luang Prabang es un pueblo re chiquito, una península llena de templos y entre dos ríos , el Mekong y el Kahn. Lleno de edificios coloniales franceses y de turistas en pleno tour del sudeste asiaticoUna parada obligada en el itinerario Vietnam, Camboya y Laos. Antes de ir a Luang Prabang, amigos en Lima preguntaban, adonde estábamos yendo y como era? Yo imaginaba que era como el Cusco de Laos. En un sentido tenia razon, pero era mas como selva que como sierra.


En una de las aventuras, Big Kiddo y su papá encontraron un lugar chiquitin a unos metros del rio Kahn, que se veia acogedor. G regreso a la casa emocionado a contarme de que habian encontrado un lugar que me encantaria, que la dueña era una mujer Hungara. Desafortunadamente se fue de vacaciones por varios dias entonces tuvimos que esperar, cuando regreso y la encontramos, fue magia brujis instantanea! Su bar, el Icon Klub me hizo acordar mucho al cafecito que tuve en Cusco, chiquito, divertido, artistico y con una dueña loca!

Entonces empezamos a parar juntas, cocinamos algunos pies, maccaroni con mucho queso, nuestras hijas pasaron varios días juntas y vieron películas, tomamos campari con jugo, fuimos en su moto a comprar para el bar, entonces por dos meses tuve una amiga super chevere que le puse de apodo, Mi Amiga la Hungara.

Me hizo acordar de lo que es ser un ancla expatriado en un lugar muy turístico, uno que sirve y entretiene a los que pasan por alli en pleno tour. Viendo como muchos se quedan mas días de lo que planearon originalmente y otros hasta meses...ser un punto importante para el pueblo. Mi Amiga la Hungara es mucho mas disciplinada que yo entonces le va muy bien con su bar y siempre tiene clientela. Ella diseño y decoro todo el local ella misma, es como una extensión de su persona. Estuve contenta que G y Big Kiddo encontraron el Icon Klub y que Lisa era la dueña. Cada vez que iba decía, Tengo que regresar cuando no este embarazada y probar todos los cocktails! Au no llego pero espero que sea pronto.

Lisa no solo tiene el bar, tambié
n hace ropa y la vende en su boutique Lisa Regale y escribe poesías, este mes en Hong Kong presentara su primer libro publicado.