Circa 5200 words When daylight boarded the night train, it came in through holes in the metal window screens. Sun rays illuminated wooden rooms. The curtains of sleeper bunks fluttered in the wind of ceiling fans. The night children, selling pictures of the King of Thailand “for school,” had long gone. Coffee sellers carried hot urns, and little spicy sausages, through the green aisles. The night train rolled from side to side, inching over the plains of Isan. Here and there, remnants of ancient jungles ran, trying to catch the train as they struggled to keep their toehold by its tracks. On the land behind, dry and yellow, the harvest was in. Fences bound and edged fields cross-stitched with small stands of trees and bamboo. Occasional water buffalo wandered into tapestries; dark grey and grazing under lone trees; yellow in the mud of drying dams. Eucalyptus trees framed paddocks of stubble, and looked for kangaroos that never came. The night train did not slow as it passed two low houses beside the line. Threads of smoke rose around grim faced men raking ashes. There had been three houses. Low wooden houses became more frequent in the landscape of un-living things. Most were single rooms, fringed in banana palms. Round pottery tanks stored water. The water drained from roofs of iron. A few houses hugged the shade of enormous trees. Houses began to appear that were bigger, and higher, and had more rooms. They came together, and became a city. At Udon Thani’s station, freestanding bougainvilleas flowered. A long platform fell short of giving firm footing to the hordes of people emptying out of the carriages. The conductor stopped the foreigners from getting off with them. A few passengers clambered on board, scrambling for rigid third class seats. The multitudes leaving the train were bound for the ancestral home of tuk-tuks, and outside the station, the tuk-tuks waited for them. The tuk-tuks were noisy three wheeling, free wheeling motor bikes crossed with minivans. The drivers sat in seats built over spluttering two stroke engines. Passengers rode in carts, perched behind the drivers. Beyond the creamy station, the neon lit food stalls of night had appeared with the darkness. The enormous elephant painted in white signs was enjoying her breakfast of pineapple tops somewhere that was not here. The loudspeakers were off. The bustle of the morning markets, the circle fountain, the neon red kangaroo over the dim seats of the bar, the tractor shops, the bookshop, and the music shops were all hidden, somewhere out beyond number 1 bus station. On the platform, there was no waiting crowd, and no sign of the man without eyes. He used the eyesight of a small girl to find foreigners in the throngs. As he did, Thai women harangued him. They pointed at the child and a home somewhere in the darkness. They touched one hand upon the wrist of the other as they berated him. He could work. Inside the half empty carriages, quiet fell. For the first time since the airport, ears were free from unnoticed plugs, sounds made by people, and engines. The relief from noise was as profound as the relief from safely clearing sibilant hisses in the shadows of the market stalls of Bangkok. “Hello madaam, you look, you look,” Thai for “Your purse is too fat; let me help slim it for you.” The train swayed away like a noisy dancer, out through green rice fields, and pink ponds of water lilies. Vegetable plots and canals of duckweed separated apartment blocks built for six. Fenced ringed houses. Free-range people roamed on footpads between red and blue tiled roofs. Wooden houses began watching the carriages, some with additions tucked under thatched hats. On the flat plain, the train tossed through the mobile phone towers and massive electricity pylons dwarfing trees. By the look of a hairy chested water buffalo eyeing the carriages, a yak bull had found himself in the wrong herd. He had made the best of things. Along the aisles of the carriages, loops neatly tied the curtains back. Conductors stowed the mattresses and the clean white sheets of night. Royal blue seats had risen after the sun. Jigsaw pieces, bags and boxes of every shape and colour, scattered over the greying blue linoleum floor. Shoes had wandered the floors, alone in the night. Now they sat sedately on their sunlit feet. Nong Khai looked like a wayside stop. Instead, it was a small and nice surprise, the end of the line. Beyond the small forest of station haunting tuk-tuks, a restaurant was open, where a Norwegian gemmologist, and a Canadian electrician, enjoyed breakfast. They washed their beer and scrambled eggs down with pork ankle soup. Their table was under the shade of an upper story, in open air. The air was fresh, and free of wind. In it, there was a puzzling smell. The scent was too elusive to grasp its detail. At the banks, in a short main street, hard-nosed tellers exchanged other currencies for Thai baht and US dollars. There was no need to double-check their counting. Across the street, the owner of a Danish bar dispensed advice to travellers about prices and places, interspersed with good-natured challenges from his red-faced friends. A woman had parked her tuk-tuk driven at a street corner nearby. In her tuk-tuk, the prices for fares were fixed, fair, and firmly displayed. The notice, in English and in Thai, clung to the wall behind her seat. Passengers could not miss it. She delivered people to white shuttle buses. The shuttle buses ferried passengers from Thailand on to the wide Friendship Bridge, ignoring the train tracks ending at Lao. Through the windows of the buses, Australians admired not the Mekong river but the rails, banisters, and pylon nuts. The bridge was an Australian monument in a foreign land, one of the very few wearing no crosses, head stones, or other memorabilia of other people’s wars. Every Australian had donated money for the building of the bridge between two nations, according to their means, as assessed by the Commonwealth Deputy Commissioner of Taxation. The passengers and luggage unfolded out of the shuttle buses. The Thai men handling exit stamps were indistinguishable from the Lao men dispensing visas and arrival cards. More taxis, more tuk-tuks. Two hundred baht took travellers on to the U.S. side of the road, and into the country of the Pathet Lao. For twenty kilometres, elderly lorries scattered flocks of motor scooters. Crops greened in a gap between road and river. Cows grazed on the verges. Buddha statues strolled in an open park. Builders and cranes ate clear space by the acre. New factories reflected the sun, with signboards reading “For Rent.” Electricity pylons, heading for Thailand, inhabited the space above the factories. The factories grew less shiny. One burped beer. Another rolled out tyres. Trying to see the city of Vientiane was like trying to look through the eyes in the head of a Naga. The Naga was a snake with many heads that fanned them out to shelter the Buddha from the rain. Nothing processed everything into a single city. In the conglomeration, boundaries had no edges. Instead, there were villages, their backs turned on the river. Blue roads tarred the disparate together. Single story wooden factories turned out dark wooden furniture. Cranes appeared and disappeared. Strings of yellow gravel split away. Houses dozed in clumps like bamboo patches. The clumps thickened into squat forests. Some of the houses had a single story. Others extended first floors in mid air, sheltering lower rooms without walls. Houses like them once stood on poles. A few still did. Walls enclosed the houses in greying wood. Sometimes, woven lattice became the walls above, or a cement cube appeared below. Tall isolates broke out of the wooden canopy, surrounded by fences, and erupting from lush gardens. The taxi turned a corner indistinguishable from any other. The veranda of a dark red restaurant lined the side of the street. Flat Chinese shop fronts, with living quarters overhead, rose on either side. A long forgotten Chrysler car gave way to a Russian Lada. Japanese pickups parked among the motor scooters. There were gem shops, postcard stands, trekkers’ bags, books, and rolls of film. The wine shop was open. Alighting from the taxi, the Canadian electrician stood in silence. He gazed at knots of electricity wires sprouting from stumpy poles. Cut ends flicked out of the knots and waved back at him. He slowly shook his head from side to side, his eyes never leaving the joins. “Man…oh, man…ooh, mann…” The Norwegian gemmologist was not listening. He had found a cafe. “Beer Lao.” In Vientiane’s tourist village, a few hundred yards inland from the river, the roads converged at a roundabout. Its heart was a fountain. Foreigners clad in T-shirts, shorts and sandals watched the fountain from the orange tablecloths of a Scandinavian bakery. “The best toilets in Asia,” a German man said to his friends, gesturing at a staircase behind a door. The staircase led to a smokers’ room, fanned by a slow blur beneath the ceiling. Away from the river, and the fountain, the shops were lower. Computer shops elbowed clothes shops between local grocery stores. Living quarters extended behind. Small cafes with few trimmings depended on quality of cooking to stay open. Committees worked in metals in wooden rooms, making anything and everything they could cut, shape, weld, or bend. New shop racks stacked in piles. Walls mounted rows of shiny scooter exhausts. Grandparents, holding hands of small children with schoolbags, walked past banks, slowing in the shade of trees. Seats chopped out spaces in the buttressed roots. The banks dominated a street near the market sheds. The market was fighting back. A mountain of old shoes extended from the roadside to a rough table where two women stood beside it. Another woman sat on the ground, with half a dozen rumpled T-shirts, and a battered tube of cloth, spread out around her. Ranks of bright blue tuk-tuks convened opposite a post office. Multi-coloured pictures ran riot over their hoods. At a guesthouse, with ASEAN tourism conference signs on its doors, the family had abandoned brewing Lao coffee. Plastic teaspoons, little tubs of long life milk and a jar of Nescafe surrounded a plastic electric urn. An electricity cord tied the urn to a wall. On the walls, the family pinned the best embroidery money could buy. The pictures, unframed, interspersed musical instruments made of wood and bamboo. A white cock swaggered through the farm animals embroidered on a red cloth. The cloth stretched across a table. Chairs at the table faced a television set. Richard Chamberlain spoke seriously, through a man’s dubbed voice, speaking in Thai. In the 1960s, Chamberlain set Western hearts afire. His Eastern audience was unborn when his movie premiered. Behind a high wooden counter, a brood of boys, and their sister, worked long hours. They learnt English as they went. One boy illustrated stories, flashing pictures on the faces of the banknotes of a long abandoned regime. Elephants lurked in his tales. Guests added words to the English versions. His sister spoke wistfully about their stable of off-site services. One day, she hoped, the family would have these services housed in their hotel. Meanwhile, the laundry, the hairdresser, and the Internet café, were all within a hundred yards. Inside their rooms, a toilet offered the opportunity to come to grips with life after toilet paper. A gripped metal trigger loosed a Force 9 pressure wave of water that burst from the end of a flexible hose. The bathrooms were very clean. Calculating the squirt gun’s ricochet was a difficult business. At the shop of the hairdresser, the hairdresser spoke of styles, with magazines and pictures, before she took up blunt scissors, and a dull razor. When she had finished, she hunted through another magazine. She found a picture of an electric shaver. She pointed at the shaver, then at the back of her neck, apologising for what she did not have. What she had was skill. She understood where the strands fall when each hair is trimmed. Upstairs at the guesthouse, damp clothes draped the rails of a common balcony, and music drummed the washing dry. Shirtless, a Nigerian and a Tanzanian danced beside their shirts. “It’s great to be a man,” belted from the tape players in their rooms. Stripes of white, pink, and green, and bunches of flowers, rode on the breaths of upright fans. Each dance ended in a frantic double-headed scurry, to turn the music down. A Korean girl’s face appeared around a door. When she hissed at the dancers, she bared her teeth. The volume slowly crept up again. Working in the design rooms of clothing factories of China, to pay for their second degrees, the African pair had taken a break. They came south, trying to get warm. Bobby studied economics. He had wanted to do his second degree in London, but London might be as cold as China. Vientiane was too cold. Perhaps it would be warm when they reached Phnom Penh. His Tanzanian friend studied microbiology. He said Chinese toilets were good teachers. A grassed levee, wearing trees and a paved path, dropped down to the river dunes. Spikes, and prickles, covered the dunes chest high. Little brown birds skittered around odd vegetable plots, further away from the levee. Mists of dragonflies drifted through grass tangled reeds. The river dunes became drifts of raw sand. Dust blew in sheets behind earth moving machines drawing lines paralleling the water. Across the river, houses in Thailand sat on low cliffs. Loudspeakers brought Thai voices across the water, on a slow wind. By the levee bank, there was no sign of the place where the Bassennes had “climbed the banks, not without trouble, because the embankment was so much the higher since the level of the water had fallen.” A sign nailed to a tree flapped in the scented shade. It said “the place of relaxed MOST an important park Here welcome to here.” Three boys walking on the path suddenly dropped a fishing rod. They wriggled into a bush by a coconut palm, holding shanghais in the place of the most relaxed. A lizard rocketed up the palm trunk. Heads hanging, the boys stood up. Pocketing shanghais, and picking up the rod, they went on their way. From the tree, two beady eyes watched their backs. As they walked, the boys bent their heads together. In the tale of get away, the lizard visibly grew. There were odd wooden shacks, on poles, out in the space between the levee bank and the scratchy brush. Around the shacks, hens and fluffy chickens foraged. Above them, on the path along the levee’s crest, round pots held rubbish. A few pots overflowed. A rough platform joined one three sided shack, hoisted by poles, to the levee bank. Yellow butterflies flickered in the air around it. Pots of yellow chrysanthemums squatted on the posts. The joists were strong. The planks, joining the shack to the bank, had wide gaps. The poles under the platform were at odd angles to the vertical. Four packing cases were tables on the shaky bridge. Red plastic stools, without backs, gathered at the tables, two facing the city, two facing the shack. The walls of the shack hid the river beyond. Behind it, the dust still blew. Two of the tables wore coloured plastic cloths. Woven plastic farm bags covered the other two, neatly trimmed to fit. On the tables, plastic tubs of dried chilli, sugar, and the coconut kept company with fish sauce, and pepper , caged in bottles. Beyond a small stand of bottled drinks, and the stove, a baby tried to sleep in the warm shade. A man on a broken couch rocked the baby in a hammock. Whenever the baby woke, the man cuddled her, and tried to amuse her. Small teeth were stabbing through small gums. Her mother’s noodle soups sustained, even when gums were sore. To the west, the levee broadened out into a flat bank. Coloured lights ringed the roof of an open sided pavilion. On the sand beyond, kites flying in the last light of afternoon. Water glinted under a faraway cliff face. Australian writer Christopher Kremmer decided, in the early 1990s, “…there are only so many temples you can take before retreating to the bamboo bars that perch along the Mekong levee, there to enjoy a slow stupefaction of beery sunsets.” Foreign travellers appeared to think the same. Sitting on real seats, at real tables, they drank Beer Lao and fruit shakes. They watched a tropical bay of illusion. They ate, at a price, from menus printed in English. They smelled of citronella, smeared thick to keep any mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes carry blood borne break bone fever. Above the twinkling stars of Thailand, out over the river, the sun was sinking. A ball of hot yellow faded orange, and red, in lavender smoke. The sky faded, through salmon pink, to face powder beige, as the river turned red gold. Sky and river became blue in their blackness. The rising moon, floating, enormous on the horizon, glowed luminous and pink. Through the darkness of the streets, little tables set up. Short fat candles lit tops deep in Tiger lottery tickets. Beside the cafes, yells rose in the night. People squeezed at circular cement tables, some standing. Others jammed together on the quarter seats that were stools. Tiles, patterned in pastel blue, created solid tablecloths. Contrasting squares coated a central tile. The people at the tables played checkers on it. His committee urged each player on. All the people in the committees could see many more moves than their player could. They said so, all at the same time. In the darkness, waves of children passed in bands, some in the charge of girls aged about eight. A very small girl, about five, peeled away from one group of seven children. She took a crying three year old by the hand. They disappeared back the way the band had come from. Though the children looked unattended, they were not. Women worked on the street, in cafes, and in grocery stores. They watched as the children passed. They saw who the children were, where they had been, and where they went. If the children were gone too long, the women quietly asked foreign faces where last the children were. If there were no satisfactory answers, they abandoned the shops and cafes. Tables and customers suddenly found themselves unattended. The women of the grocery shops and cafes worked for themselves. They worked on when paid work for other women stopped, on the public holiday that was International Women’s Day. Two separated countries, with people who look the same, share a rare propensity – a public holiday celebrating the paid and unpaid work of their women. Laotian men did not share the good fortune of their fellows in Indonesia, where all paid work stops for Kartini day (what is Kartinin day?) . Financially, Lao PDR and Indonesia are poor countries. Rich countries do not waste good money on such matters. Rich countries are the poorer for it. In the mornings, there was a school for weavings, over breakfast at a bakery. Frank from Vermont needed a lot of Lao coffee. He was puzzling over the question of how to get his generator home. He thought his generator might be Vietnamese. Water powered, it weighed 40 kilograms, and it had a long shank. The generator would give light, when snow stopped other kinds of electricity climbing into the mountains where he lived. Frank came to Lao PDR to buy small weavings, for US quilters, and baskets for shop displays. His knowledge of Lao weavings was encyclopaedic. He had been to Lao PDR many times. On his first trip, he was just another stray who wandered in. He was horrified when he chanced upon mangled children. The children lived on what was once the Ho Chi Minh trail. They worked in fields of vegetables. The ground exploded under them. Live bombs resided in alcoves in roots of beans. Unexploded cluster bombs swam in the Laotian mud. Frank had never encountered unexploded ordinance. Often the bombs in the ground were bombs made in Frank’s own country. They were detritus from a war the Unites States never had, a war the US calls the Viet Nam war, and Vietnam calls the American war. The North Vietnamese army used trails of footpaths as supply lines. Some of the foot trails ran south, and west, across Laos. Whenever the US suspected trails were used as supply lines, the trails were bombed. The oral tales of foreign travellers said that in the late 1960s, a planeload of bombs dropped on Laos, every eight minutes, for eight long years. More bombs fell on Laos than were dropped in the whole of World War II. Many of the bombs were still out there, somewhere, unexploded. The Americans were digging up mountains, looking for bodies of men who flew in aeroplanes. Some of the flyers survived when planes went down. The US Central Intelligence Agency funded Hmong villagers, animists in the mountains, to fight communist armies, and give shelter to wounded men falling out of the air. In the mountains, some of the Hmong fought on. The stories raised questions better not asked, especially of those who told them. Who bought guns and bullets for farmers? In what currency, when kip was worthless outside Laos? When did the planes go down? When Frank first went home to Vermont, he sold his father’s hunting guns. He carried the money from the guns to Vientiane. With the full support of “the UN,” he travelled the foot trails of every province. Whenever he found a person maimed by a bomb, he gave the person $US20, until the money from the guns was gone. “The UN” urged him to allow press releases under their banner. Global news chains arranged tentative times for interviews. Frank resisted the blandishments. A local news story still ran. When Frank came to Lao PDR again, “the UN” was gone. When he wanted official sanction, he met no ears. He hammered on doors until the Deputy President ushered him in. The Deputy President said the Provincial governments feared that if Frank continued to give money, as he had done, peasant parents would see a way to make money. They would send their children into unused fields, knowing bombs of the fields would blow their children apart. If the children survived, these parents would ask, “Where is the American, and his money?” The Deputy President said it would be better if Frank bought things. In this way, Frank would be free to go anywhere again. If Frank bought goods from the affected families, the money would benefit the people he wanted to help. From his third trip, Frank carried home baskets and weavings. His quilting friends saw the weavings. One opened a shop for quilters. Lao weavings spilled from Lao baskets on its shelves. Other shopkeepers saw the weavings, and the baskets. They asked if they could stock them too. Between them, the Deputy President and Frank built their own Friendship Bridge, spanning the seas between two continents, and a chasm of political divide. On their bridge, money raised for maimed people came to life. It helped to keep the injured. It brought Frank back to Lao. He was back in Vientiane after going to villages in the north. He had restocked in a way benefiting people suffering the after shock of ordinance, no matter who had left the ordinance behind. Frank advised people who wanted to see weavings, for the sake of seeing weavings, to go to the weavings hall at the Vientiane morning market. The traders had bought pickups like Australian utes. The pickups were station wagons, with encased forward seats enclosed, and a goods tray unroofed at the back. In their pickups, the traders were the first to reach the weaving villages. They bought only the best weavings. At the market, the weavings hall was the last of three ironclad sheds, behind a car park full of brand new utes. People going to the weavings hall dodged through the utes, and through lingering Vietnamese boys. When they thought no eyes were on them, the Vietnamese boys slipped into the food stalls. They flogged digital alarm clocks to tourists spooning in soups. One sold a “Chinese.” His friends crowded the buyer, showing the same clocks, “Vietnamese! Better! Better!” A grizzle haired policeman appeared from nowhere. One boy tried to argue. Before he knew it, the smart binoculars from his neck were in the policeman’s hand. The policeman walked away. The protesting boy followed. At a safe distance, the policemen returned the binoculars, with a finger raised. Another gesture made very clear precisely what would happen to the binoculars if there to be a next time. The weavings were in the last hall. At the front of the first hall, there were stalls selling household goods. Shower rugs, in circles eighteen inches wide, rose in towers. A heavy cotton backing carried small pieces of cloth. The cloth folded in tiny triangles, stitched across their bases. The lines of stitching circled a padded centre matching the outermost circle of triangles. Inside the outer circle, other colours made stars on a background, with a single coloured triangle at the apex of each star. The bright colours changed from one rug to the next. Beside shower rugs and plastic bowls, strange chess sets swallowed shelves. Clocks, and paper shops, selling plastic coated notebooks, extended out beyond. Upstairs, new shoes from Thailand tumbled everywhere. Velcro strips joined straps at places where buckles might have been. There were stalls of bags labelled with “big name” brands. Some of the brand names had new spelling. An unmarked set of pink stairs led upwards. The pink stairs delivered ascendants into glittering galleries running forever. The stallholders sold gold chains, and ornaments to hang on them. They asked the same first price for gold of every kind, 900 baht per gramme. Gold, so white that it seemed silver, piled beside gold of every yellow. Gold ran the whole gamut of the oranges, and turned into deep reds of sunset. Each piece of gold had as many prices as there were gems in the stalls around it. For those who knew about gems, gems in gold settings were everywhere. Thick bands of white gold bound blue and white sapphires encrusted with diamonds. The bands for neck and wrist matched studs for ears. For a set, the trader asked an amount that a jeweller at home would charge for a single Burmese ruby ring. The sapphire and diamond sets were an infinitesimal part of the stock this trader carried. His stall was only one small stall among many. Looking at the gold stalls, a puzzle made sense: That someone had tried to bomb this market, a year or so before, had been incomprehensible. The bombing was either a trade dispute, or an attempt at small-scale warfare. Either way, the thinking behind the bombing was the same as thinking that aimed a foreign plane at two towers. In the towers, traders dealt in large amounts of money. Both sets of thinkers sought to bring the trading to a standstill, without thought for other carnage they would cause. The policemen, who found it so easy to sort out cheeky Vietnamese boys, were not here to sort them out. Looking at the policemen, any would-be bomber would be lucky to get a second chance. In the ranks of stalls in the weavings hall, weavings was an elastic word. It included appliqués and reverse appliqués. Snail and other geometric patterns spiralled over backcloth. Embroidered Hmong storyboards told tales of village life, backed in blue. Deceptively simple pictures scattered the faces of the storyboards. Colour and placement was no accident. Deep and subtle shapes, and complex structures, emerged from simple backstitches leavened by cross-stitches. The storyboards said more than the villages they depicted. Some cloths were sheer fringed wisps of silk, scarves that might one day wrap a small bronze Buddha. Other cloths were thick and sumptuous. Their silk flowed like honey. Weavers used narrow wooden looms to make both kinds. A weaver first fixed long strings, tight and parallel, to make a warp. To form the basic structure of the cloth, the weaver twisted threads through the fixed strings, at right angles to them, creating the weft of a tabby weave. Among the cloths, the weavers had used threads of cotton as well as silk. Weavers had woven wefts and warps in different colours, making cloths shooting shadows when turned in the same light. Other weavers had woven wefts in different colours, creating banded cloths. One band woven cloth replicated the colours of a tiger in its stripes. The weavers had not stopped at making plain tabby weaves of the kind that factories produce. Before they fixed them in the loom, they dyed strips across long bundles of threads. As they wove, patterns formed out of the changing colours of the matching threads. They created single ikats by another name. They wove in extra threads. The supplementary threads formed more patterns over the top of plain weaving beneath. Some of the supplementary threads continued across the cloth. Others shaped isolated emblems. Grains of coloured rice fell down the face of one scarf. Complex patterns and shapes formed as weavers changed threads, working them through the cloth coming out of their looms. Most of the weavers used threads dyed in the colours produced by vegetable dyes. Chemicals made the dyes that stained the threads, in harsher versions of the same colours. Dark browns, dark reds, olive greens, and tans, predominated. White, yellow, orange, and gold threads picked out elements of the designs. The chemicals produced other colours, and a few weavers had adopted them. Their weavings contained colours of the Mediterranean Sea, teal, turquoise, and indigo. The cottons and silks folded into deep heaps on the tables. Over-layered, they curtained walls and partitions. Little sample squares and tiny purses jostled for space amid larger, longer cloths. Most were long scarves. Some were wide and long enough to double as shoulderless shirts, crossed at the back, with fringed edges falling down from each shoulder. Other cloths were tablecloths. Wall hangings were big enough to be queen-sized bedspreads. Around a corner, battered sewing machines turned out new Laotian skirts. The dressmakers stitched two plain bands of cloth to the opposite sides of a weaving. Then the dressmakers stitched a seam across the ends. They made patterned tubes, with a plain band around the waist, and a plain strip at mid-calf. Women could knot the tubes around their waists. Most women opted to use a safety pin instead. Clothing blight had struck in Vientiane as in every other tourist’s city in South East Asia. One or two of the machinists chopped lesser weavings into pieces. They turned out ugly, misfitting clothes for tropical tourists to wear as affectations at home.