Gotta Get My Rice Now, or I’ll Starve to Death: Vientiane Versus Busan

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The sun exploded from curling clouds, the dew on the wine-dark orchids gleamed like golden honey, and I soon discovered that Vientiane was far smaller than Busan, and still reeking with the comfortably Anti-Korean admission that you don’t need to work all day every day for your entire life in order to just barely get by. In the mornings in Busan it’s impossible to go anywhere without seeing people sprinting on the sidewalks, racing each other for their salaries, shoving, kicking, clawing, gnawing—“Gotta Get My Rice NOW, Or I’ll Starve To Death!” is Korea’s unofficial slogan—but in Vientiane people got to where they were going without making a fuss.

—excerpted from Kingdoms in the Sun, the greatest book you’ve never bought, which costs a hell of a lot less than most of the books you have bought at just $2.99, or the equivalent of about thirty minutes working a minimum wage job—all for a book that took thousands of hours to conceive of, write, edit, format, convert, upload, and publish. Buy this book guys, because I gotta get my rice now.