Luang Prabang - Day 84-88

Trip Start Jan 31, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Luang Prabang,
Saturday, May 17, 2008

Day 84 - 16/05/08

Very ill today, my eye is worse and I've now developed a high fever on the boat. Slept most of the day on the front deck. So didn't really see any of the scenery of the Mekong. Pretty disappointed as I was really looking forward to a relaxing day on the Mekong taking in the beautiful landscapes.
When we arrived in Luang Prabang managed to find an average guest house called Phousi. Not ideal, but just wanted to relax after a long day of feeling really rough. Managed to go out and eat some food in the evening. Also had a quick look around the city. Really nice laid back atmosphere here, the Laos people are very approachable and polite. Think I'm going to enjoy my time in Laos.
This evening I talked to one the young guys that runs the guest house where I'm staying. A really impressive young man. We talked for an hour about Laos, communism and the education system. He told me that every person in Laos is entitled to a free education. Not just primary and secondary but also degree level. The government pay for food, accommodation and give the students a job in the tourist industry while studying. After finishing the degree the students have to give something back to the people of Laos. The guy I spoke too will be a teacher for 3 years in the north part of the country in a poor rural village. He will teach English. They get a salary and after 3 years they can do what they like with their careers. What a fabulous system! Everybody is a winner, the poor kids in the rural communities get an education, the government gets an educated work force which speaks English, plus the students get work experience. A really interesting and inspiring conversation.
Day 85 - 17/05/08

After feeling so ill after the boat journey yesterday decided to check into a really beautiful French villa called Villa Champa. My room had A/C, a massive balcony, TV with BBC world, hot shower, fridge, free internet, the list goes on. A real nice and comfortable place to be ill in. For south east Asian standards its really expensive, $35 a night. The room would probably cost at least $300 in a big city in Europe.
Didn't really do a lot today for obvious reasons but I did manage to have a stroll around the night market. The market is great. The stalls are pitched on the main road through the centre of town. The road is closed off to vehicles after 5pm. There must at least 250 metres of stalls lining the road all with red canvas covers and a single light bulb, so as you look down the road it's quite a romantic sight. No body hassles you to buy anything which is quite unusual for Asian street sellers. So it's real pleasant experience to take a stroll and look around.
Day 86 - 18/05/08

Thinking of writing a book about the hospitals of south east Asia. Had to visit another one today. My eye infection has worsened and spread to my other eye. My vision is starting to cloud over too, not ideal! Thought I'd play it safe and jumped in a tuk-tuk this morning to the Laos-Chinese friendship hospital on the other side of town. Saw the doctor and he prescribed me some antibiotic eye drops and something for the stomach cramps. Lets see if it helps, I certainly hope so!
Day 87 - 19/05/08

Moved to different guest house today called Namsok. Couldn't justify living in such opulence for another night.
Feeling very ill again today, stayed in my room all day. Feeling really, really rough. Had severe stomach cramps intermittently all day and I had to make numerous visits to the toilet. Not a lot more to report really.
Day 88 - 20/05/08

Added a couple more items to my already heavy rucksack while in Laos. At least 2kg I reckon, need to stop doing this! I couldn't resist though. I've bought some beautiful pieces of wood and stone carving for next to nothing.
Feeling a bit better today so I visited Phou Si which means "sacred hill". The Buddhist temple at the top of the 300 steps is perched on a small hill in the middle of the old city. Great views of the Nam Khan river and the Mekong. I bought an offering of flowers to give to the Buddha statue in the temple and asked him to make me well again. Things must be bad if I'm turning to region for help.
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