Lao-Lao Wine and Waterfalls

Trip Start Dec 01, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Louangphabang,
Sunday, January 10, 2010

We found a guest house and split 3 rooms between the 9 of us. After a shower we headed to Lao- Lao garden, a restaurant who's slogan is "Drink Like Fish for the Price of Water." We tried our first bottle of "Lao-Lao Wine." Despite the claim to be "the finest quality" on the bottle, the drink is florescent pink, and tastes more like KoolAid than Cabernet. This does not mean that it is not delicious! However,  4 bottles was maybe going a bit overboard, as we had to take one home at the end of the night. We also got tons of Laos food.

Laos is a fairly inexpensive country. With an exchange rate of 9000 kip to the dollar, it means that almost every restaurant in the city is in our $33 a day budget. Of course, everything costs thousands of kip, which can be very confusing.   Laos is also one of the only communist countries left in the world, and has a variety of strange laws. For example, there is a midnight curfew. It is not strictly enforced for tourists, and there is even a bowling alley in Luang Prabang open until 3 am, but everything else closes at 11:30 pm on the dot.

We had an early night, and woke up the next morning to visit  the Kuang Si waterfall. We had breakfast at Jomo, a cafe that would not be out of place in New York city. Luang Prabang is an adorable city with french colonial architecture and a heavy french influence that puts cafes and bakeries on every street corner. After breakfast (more like lunch by the time we made it there) we hired a tuk-tuk to drive the 9 of us out to the waterfalls. Lindsey and Sarah were suckered into the tourist markets outside the falls, and bought Beer Laos sweatshirts. Fleece lined and comfy (Laos is chillier than thailand) they are probably the best things they have bought on this trip. The falls are beautiful and the water is almost unnaturally blue. There are a multitude of swim spots where we could jump off of the smaller waterfalls, or use a rope swing to propel ourselves through the air. Lindsey and Tommy had their long awaited swim off, and despite some setbacks like sharp rocks, they seemed pretty evenly matched.

When we had our fill of swimming we headed up to huge waterfall at the top and admired the view. Then Lindsey ate a chicken thigh and Sarah got one of the obsequious sandwiches on french baguettes. We headed back to town and Lindsey and Sarah set off to find a cooking class for the following day. Then we went to the night market and sampled the street food. Sarah tried some delicious spring rolls and then had a skewer of pork belly cooked over charcoal.  Lindsey also had some spring rolls and had the long-awaited spice off with Tommy and Ash. She brought back the spicest papya salad she could find, and enjoyed eating while Tommy and Ash sweated buckets and sucked down whatever cold beverages they could find. She emerged the clear winner.

Lindsey went back with some of our friends to watch a movie, and Sarah went out to Hive Bar with the rest. Hive Bar is a danceclub that shuts down at 11:30. You can imagine how fun THAT is.

The next morning our friends left for Vang Vieng, and Lindsey and I stayed another day. We took our 4th cooking class of the trip and learned to make a variety of Laos dishes such as chicken steamed in banana leaves, fried rice salad, spicy chicken salad, fresh spring rolls, lemongrass chicken and chicken in red curry paste. We also learned to make sticky rice, which is the main staple of Laos cuisine. We ate all of the dishes for lunch, and then rented bicycles to try and work some of it off. We biked along the Mekong and visited the temples that dot the hillsides. That evening we went to bed early after visiting the night market, so we could wake up early to see the monks.

At about 6:30 in the morning, all of the monks  in Luang Prabang collect alms. The people of the city line the streets and the monks file down. The people then give the monks  sticky rice and other foods.  We watched the procession and then had an early breakfast before heading off to Vang Vieng.
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rayray51 on

ok these last few blog entries have my fav pics...nicely done. thank you for picking your game back up. you were slacking there a little in the middle with the everest business, but now we are back to goodness. i am kinda starting to think that you guys aren't actually travelling the world anymore, but are somewhere in LA just going from one movie set to another. if so, please come down to sandy eggo ASAP. loveskiiiii :)

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