BBQ'ed lungs anyone???

Trip Start Jul 17, 2012
Trip End Jun 01, 2013

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Sunday, August 19, 2012

We arrived in the rain. It started as small drops, it continued as big drops. As we unloaded our bags from the boat, very happy to be on dry land again (I think Andrew was happiest) the monks were practising for a riverboat race! None the less with them doing that our main priority was to get out of the rain. We had no idea where our new home was. Louise made the decision that a tuk-tuk was required. We asked the drivers if they knew where Khammany Inn was. They assured us they did and that it was too far to walk to (well of course they would). We agreed a price and in we piled. Our driver took off. Heading in a definite direction. At first we were glad we were in the tuk-tuk it seemed far away and it was chucking it down. The driver then began a routine of slowing down and peering at various hostels along the way. Then he swung around and headed in the opposite direction. We started to get suspicious at this point. Then he stopped dead, turned off the engine and pulled out his phone and made a call. By all appearances he was lost. He hung up, got out and wiped the windscreen, Lou lit a fag, and then he swung the tuk-tuk around to face the way we had just come. We decided we should watch out for the hostel, this dude had no clue. Then we saw it as he was whizzing by. We shouted for him to stop that we would get out. However... he insisted we stay where we were and did yet another u-turn and pulled up outside the door. We paid the man and checked in. 
The receptionist was really lovely and a wee slip of a Laotian, despite this she insisted on carrying most of our bags up the tiled white floors, up a flight of stairs and to our rooms. When checking in somewhere new there is always an air of trepidation as to what one is just about to walk into. We unlocked the door. The room was fantastic. Big comfy looking double bed, immaculate white mosquito net hanging from the ceiling, big French shutter doors, huge bathroom/wet-room, wardrobe, fridge, TV, massive mirror (not that I wanted to look in it right then, two days on a boat...). The room was fantastic and cost about £7-8 each!! I was in heaven. We went to our separate rooms and I couldn't get in to the shower quick enough. Andrew did the now compulsory bed-bug check. Needless to say it passed. This was a world away from the last two places we had stayed. It was siesta time prior to our agreed rendezvous time for dinner.
We decided we'd go for a wander before resting on somewhere for dinner. Luang Phrabang is one of those early doors places. Not much is open after ten. We had left it late enough to eat, so were now somewhat limited. We walked down by the river front and decided to go into a place just up past the hot coal pit for the BBQ tent across the road. We decided to head upstairs and eat inside. We had a great dinner. In typical SEA style the starter arrived as we were preparing to leave. We forced most of it in to our bellies. Lou decided it was time for bed. Myself and Mr. T took a stroll through the night market which was packing up. I bought myself a long awaited pair of elephant pants and was deeelighted with myself. I was also very much excited about going to bed.

Our first full day began with a great breakfast and we then proceeded to go for a long stroll around the town. Today was a scorcher. The rain had gone away and the sun was out. We meandered around for a while and lunched.  We then decided we'd have a massage. The three of us decided on a hot oil massage. We were shown round the back. On the floor was a row of mats, I think there were four. These were separated by curtains. we were motioned to undress and lie down. It was pretty funny. We did that and the 'masseuse' came and pulled the curtains between us. It was very different to the massage we had in Thailand. Here they slopped oil around bent us and manipulated things a bit. My 'masseuse' got up to answer her phone! When this was all over after about fifty minutes we decided to head back for a shower and siesta. 
 We met up later that evening and decided to go for the Korean BBQ. This is where the madness started. It was a set fee per head then they put this big fire in a bucket, basically, then they give you this thing that sits on top to BBQ your food on. You help yourself to the food, as much of it as you like and sure have a few beers (rather litres of beer) while you're at it! It was a great night. Great dinner and we got suitably drunk for good measure. And just to make sure we were going to get a good nights rest we stopped off for a beer on the way home. A large bottle each....

DAY 2   

The plan of getting up at 06.00 to go and see the alms being performed needless to say did not happen. Today we were failures. Myself and Andrew were a tad bit fuzzy from the night before. At some hour of the morning we had a knock on the door from our friendly neighbour. She wasn’t in a good way. She had a way about her that said I maybe  dying. Poor Lou was going nowhere today and came out especially to tell us this and to request some water. We lay in bed for another while until we were hungry. I decided to go check on Lou on our way out. She simply requested a muffin of some variety, a take away coffee, and some cough syrup. I left her with some tiger balm to keep her company. So with our shopping list we braved the hot day to get some brunch. After eating we headed off for a pharmacy of some kind. We found one. I asked to see all their cough remedies and decided the one with the opium would do best. It was called ‘Brown Mixture’.  We grabbed the sustenance on the way back and presented the messages to Miss Consumption. It would appear a combination of cigarettes, booze, lots of flights, but primarily BBQ’ed lungs were Louise’s problem. We concluded that she had been sitting directly in the path of the smoke coming off the BBQ. As we were all drunk when this happened no one figured it would be a problem? Hence a restful day was had by all. There would be no BBQ tonight. We’d also decided that instead of leaving in the morning we’d stay an extra night.
With Louise feeling much better later on we made a brief visit to another pharmacy and decided we’d go for a walk to the top of the hill to see the Golden Stupa. Was a great idea at the time? We didn’t take in to account how bleedin’ hot it was or how unfit we were (me and Lou). We arrived at the top drenched in our own sweat. Wasn’t such a good look. However the views were amazing. We then made our way down to the market where Louise bought some elephant trousers and I bought a second pair. We’d never looked so hot (quite literally). We were also quite starved. After walking around for about twenty minutes and no one making a decision I took the bull by the horns and went to the nearest place. And sat. Underneath three fans. And drank. Lots of cold non-alcoholic beverages. Then we ate amazing food. When we’d eaten Andrew decided he’d had enough for one day. Myself and Lou on the other hand didn’t. We were in Laos and I was determined to give the Lao-lao (local rice-whisky) a go. Always up for a session my partner in crime was all for it. Off we headed to find a drinking hole. We ended up down by the river. Not the smartest place to go! After the mosquitoes had their entrée we decided to put on some Deet. Louise had just bought a fantastic brew. It was so fantastic it stripped the writing off the outside of the bottle! So there we were at the riverside bar. We had a glass of lao-lao and a beer each. I have to say it was the most like poitÌn I had ever tasted. It was 45% alcohol and tasted it. I could tolerate it. Louise could not. She couldn’t even drink the stuff. I on the other hand drank my glass and some of hers. While sitting chatting drinking the lovely beverages there was quite a substantial 'thwack'. It sounded like part of a building had fallen over. It was in fact a coconut falling off a tree and hitting the ground. This happens predominantly at night time and kills about thirty people a year. Moral of the story is, don't sit or sleep under a coconut tree!!  The next day proved the specific libations I instigated weren't the brightest thing I had ever done, but nonetheless, when in Rome. It didn't kill me, I just decided I would be in a rush to repeat it. After a couple of beers and the local brew it was time to meander our way home. Plus it was nearing 21.30, that’s almost kicking out time in Luang Phrabang. I sensibly bought some water on return to the ranch and couldn’t wait for bed.

 DAY 3
Woke up a bit rough around the edges this morning I must admit. As we headed out to breakfast we booked our minibus to Vang Vieng (tubing central). Another fantastic breakfast in our regular and I was heading back to sort myself out. I needed to pack and do some blogging. The other two followed and hung about for a wee while and then headed off to look at Wats and museums and stuff. In my opinion it was too hot for that carry on. I decided to wander down for a spot of grub and met them in a wee restaurant. They declared that it was so good we should go back for or last supper there, which we did.The dinner was fantastic and we were disappointed that we had only found it on our last night. After seeing the breakfast menu we vowed to return for brekkie prior to our bus jaunt. And so it was to be early doors tonight, we had to be up at the crack of dawn for a five hour bus journey. The thing about SEA is you just never know what the actual time frame is. We had gotten to the stage where we just added two hours on to every time estimation. 
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