Too busy doing nothing
Trip Start Jan 21, 2007
67Trip End ??? ??, 2008
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Arrival in Luang Prabang was quite simple due to 2 other Western girls on the bus who had already been there, so we all hopped into a tuk tuk and set off to the town. Half way there the driver pulls over. We have a flat tyre
We arrive in the town centre and head off down one of the little lanes looking for somewhere to stay and something very rare happens, we agree to stay in the first place we look at! At approx 1 pound each a night it was certainly cheap if not particularly inspiring. It was only when I went to install my "products" in the bathroom that I find nowhere to put my toothbrush and realise that there is no sink! Cue spitting toothpaste on the floor, something I have as yet never had to do! Next morning Chad insists there is somewhere better out there for us, so we spend the morning hunting for a new guesthouse only to find that most in the same price range have shared bathrooms. Seems pointless to take something worse than what we have so it seems we're staying in the no sink place. It's only after an afternoon visit to a fabulous bakery/cafe called Joma that we take a walk down the pretty little lane beside it and find our excellent new place. Ok it's a little bit dearer at 1.50 each but I think we can stretch to that
Luang Prabang is a lovely little town, everyone told us before we got here that we would like it and it's good for hanging out, and it is! We've managed to spend about 8 days doing not really very much at all! It's on the Mekong, it's a little bit French, it has a couple of great night markets which sell different things to the junk we're used to seeing everywhere else, it has some nice restaurants, some nice shops, nice massage places, the fabulous Joma bakery as already mentioned and just generally a nice atmosphere.
We did manage to do the walking tour from the lonely planet (albeit over two separate days) which took us past the sights, which mainly consist of temples, temples and more temples! There is also a mountain (well, large hill probably) in the centre of town with a monastry on top which gave great views all around as well as some chat with a couple of monks.
Unfortunately the second half of our tour was ruined by some non-Buddhist type locals. Sitting resting on the steps leading down to the Mekong a man rushes past us towards the river holding a dog by a rope tied round it's neck, almost strangling the poor thing. It also had it's back legs tied together. Seeing something bad about to happen Chad asks the man what he's doing, to no reply, so we sit and watch. The man and dog disappear into the long grass at the side of the river and we hear the dog yelping in pain for a while, then it falls silent and the man reappears
Another activity which has filled our time was a visit to a large waterfall, very pretty and freezing cold water ideal for cooling down in the horrendous heat here. There was almost a tragedy when, standing in water at the very top of this high waterfall my flip flop comes off and starts to float towards the edge! Anyone up to date with my adventures will know of the flip flop saga. Anyway with no regard for anything apart from saving the flop, I climbed under the safety railing and retrived it before it could plunge to certain lostness over the fall! Chad thinks I'm insane.
Another hot day (it really is stupidly hot here) was spent at a hotel with swimming pool. Only 3 dollars for the use of a sunbed, the pool and a pool towel. Stupidly though we both think we're way past getting sunburnt and although I took sunscreen it's just sooo much effort to put it on. So a couple of hours later and I have a bright red stripe down my front. Nice.
A couple of days ago we went on a mission to visit a baby elephant we had read about
One important thing almost forgotten! One morning we got up at the stupid hour of 5.30am to go out onto the street and watch and take part in the monks collecting their alms. People sit on mats on the pavement and put food into the alms pot of each monk passing by which I believe they then pool and it provides all their food for the day. We bought some food from a street vendor which consisted of bananas and sticky rice. We weren't excatly sure what we were doing, did we give it all to one monk or share it out? Turns out we shared it out, we had to break off a ball of sticky rice and give that and one banana to each monk
At night in this town there are only 2 bars which stay open past 11pm, the Hive and Lao Lao Garden. Lao Lao Garden was our preference and we spent a few nights drinking there. On one occasion after checking our their decent wine selection three of us split a 14 dollar bottle of Chilean Cabernet and it was fantastic!! After these two bars close at midnight there are two places to go, bowling or bed. Bowling is the place to be as it's the only place open but why it gets to be open is a mystery since there is a curfew in place due to this being a Communist country. It does anyway and our one night there was great fun. We arrived and it was mobbed, so we asked at the desk if we could get a lane. "Full" was the reply. We asked how could we get one? "Full". So we had to check out who was about to finish playing and befriend them to get their lane. That was ok as long as some of their players could stay on to play again. That was fine so off we went. This was fuelled by bottles of beerlao and by the bottle of lao lao rice whisky we had acquired at the village in Phonsovan which was shared round and ensured everyone had a good night! Sadly when we tried to go again a few nights later it wasn't allowed to open
The only other thing we have found to do at night is watch movies! There is "Le Cinema" which is really a house with 5 rooms with cushions on the floor and large tvs and a good selection of dvds. So several hours have been wasted lying about watching dvds in our own "private cinema".
Tomorrow we're getting a slow boat which will take about 8 hours to get to the town of Pak Beng. We stay over night there then get the boat again the next day to our destination of the border town of Huay Xia. This boat may have soft seats like a bus, or it may have wooden benches, either way we've been reliably informed that it's going to be a very uncomfortable journey! The reason for going there is to take part in a thing called the Gibbon Experience which involves sleeping in a treehouse for 2 nights and travelling through the tree tops on zip lines. There is also the possibility of seeing or hearing some gibbons although this is supposedly not very common. I'm looking forward to it a lot so update soon!
Photos are not entirely up to date but I am thoroughly bored with internet cafes so this is the best I can do for the moment!!