Shaking Mountains

Trip Start Feb 20, 2012
Trip End Oct 22, 2012

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rain welcomed us on the door of the guest house. Waked up early to move north: Luang Prabang, the old capital of Lan Xang Hom Khao (the first Laos kingdom). We are lucky, a tuk tuk is just in front of the door (already quite packed with Laotian and Falang (foreigners) and it goes to the north bus station. Little bargain and we are flying on the streets. Little drops of water on the face reminds me about India, tuk tuk and monsoon. I'm happy to move. Another help from the luck: the bus to Luang Prabang leaves few seconds after our arrival (this time we bargain directly on the bus ;) ).

The roads are awful, but the 12 hours/380 km (make your speed calculation) offer anyhow some amazing views. Bend after bend the bus climbs the northern mountains that are a patchwork of green and black (remember the farmer cut and burn habbits?). Some buffaloes, some cows. Definitely not industrial. Small villages change in type of houses: from brick to wood to straw. The brick ones remind me a lot the small mafious villa: eagles, Greek columns and a kitchy taste for colors. This are the only one with the entrance doors closed. The people leaving in the wood and straw houses seem to have a much stronger bond with the street life. Could not be any different when the kids play outside and to take the shower you go to the public fountains.

Everywhere kids and women, the only man you can see are the drivers of the trucks, the few one on motorbike and the motor mechanics. There are tons of kids everywhere. Statistics says that Laos has an extremely young population, and it is clearly visible. In the seats in front of me a happy representative plays with the Falang, they laugh a lot. It is funny even if after a while I just pretend to be tired and sleep to let the people around relax after all this laughing.

Especially in the first part of the trip the condition of the streets are so bad that for several meters from the road everything is covered with red-yellowish dust. It looks like somebody has handcrafted thousands of bamboos and palms to put along the road, a fake clay forest. Also the people look a bit like sculptures.. After many many bend the sculptures are transformed into ghosts: the fog has invaded the valley. Ghost kids play petang, ghost adolescents dressed in punk cloths. Actually the symbols of punk-rock (skulls, bandanas, roses) are diffused among the youngers (seen a lot also in Vientiane).

After 12 hours i start to be impatient, where is Luang Prabang? And then ii see it, in the vally, the lights. It is a quite a green city (can distinguish a lot of dark areas with trees) full of temples.

Seatting on the riverside, a beer and a cigarette. The air is fresh and my butt is happy not to be shaked continuously. I'm happy too.
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