Luang Prabang, Loas
=SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND.==
Once again my lack of preperation kicked me in the ass! I was two days off leaving to Laos and I had run out of money... I had just enough to cover the visa on arrival and the taxi to the airport. So I survived for two days on one meal and stolen sweet rolls from my Halong Bay trip (knew they would come in handy!). Heading to the airport I could only think of what I was going to do when I arrive, my conclusion was to just sleep at the airport untill I could get money out :/
After going through the normal airport confusion I head out to the plane and it is a smaller plane than I am used too. It has propellers instead of the jets. The plane trip takes only 40 minutes or so, getting off I realise my expectations of major airports in south east asia needs to be re assesed.
I head to Immigration and get my visa done, an American girl asks to share a taxi into town (I don't mention that I have no money yet). We pass customs and I try the ATM there and amazingly I have available funds....seriously like a half hour makes the difference?!
Another half hour later and the American girl is having a shower in my bathroom...I know right! Waaaiit! it's not what you think, she was all hot and sweaty... because we were walki...it was hot....ok ok what ever! Anyhow I was meeting friends from previous travels that are doing the same route, they had allready organised rooms and was bunking in with one of them...turns out that there was a hiccup in the plans and they had brought another person (I had said that the american could maybe bunk in with one of us). It all worked out though as the American and myself found a hostel and shared which was difficult in itself trying to dodge the kids bent on drenching us...we were slow and large targets with our backpacks! (Finally I have found a use for the navy seal water proof bags I have been carrying around!). Here a couple of pics ( I would of liked more but water and my camera definitely do not mix!) Not only do you get drenched but tar'd and every other dye colour with powder thrown at you, cars are also subject to decoration and if your wondering how this could happen I would get mobbed by kids looking like this at times also haha
Luang Prabang is truly beautiful, I'm not sure if it's the lush green vegitation, the mekong river surrounding the town or the many serene monks that roam the streets and temples. The pace of life is a slow one but in this heat who really wants to rush?!
Entering into a country on it's new year is a great way to start! We chose to hire a bicycle and ride around the town exploring, being drenched along the way helped with the heat. I would be drenched and then given beer and food, it was a great way to interact with the locals. I believe the reason to it all is to wash away all the bad mojo. There was a procession down the street of where we were staying, monks would sit on floats of sorts driven down the street getting pretty much drenched by people pouring water on them, but more ritualistically. In the procession I notice some fellows I'd seen before ...I couldn't put my finger on it at the time but it soon came to me, they are the evil Wing Kong of Big Trouble in little China!
Anyhow bicycling around we ended up taking a turn into a worn path heading into jungle...ending up at a small rustic (had logs for chairs and tables in the dirt) bar on the opposing side from the peak of the peninusla We happen to get there at sunset It was beautiful, only enhanced by watching the monks come down to swim and play. I had a dip myself in the water there amongst some rocks..was clean and refreshing. To get back we found a shortcut along a bamboo bridge Finding that we had to pay on the otherside we bargained half the price because we only used oneway.
The next day I spent drinking and water fighting. The gun I got was super strong and sometimes I forgot how strong... there was a small kid in a tub that splashed me and I shot a burst into his chest nearly boreing a hole through him. You know that moment when a child falls or bangs thier head and they pause, it can go either way from hysteria to it never happend. Well that was the situation, so I tried desperately to make him laugh then walked off quickly as his parents watched me disapprovingly.
The american girl, you know lets give her a name..Linda. Linda was a huge food junkie which was cool because I tried alot of stall stuff that I would'nt of normally, but there was a downside. Once she left I found myself thinking I'm quite the iron stomach food stall taster, so I suggest to the others that we go and eat down this food alley where it is only 10,000 kip (a little over $1 aus) for a buffet of food Well this was a very bad descision and I paid for it for the next 3 days! (Immodium is my new best friend) The food alley was part of a larger night market open everynight it seemed and it actually has some very nice stuff...will buy something on my way back there I'm sure.
Here are some pictures from Luang Prabang
So next was a 2 day slow bout ride up the Mekong to get to where I needed to be for the Gibbon Experience. We had heard horror stories of people having to stand and there being no room but it was fine for us on the first one at capacity and the second one was less and had alot of room (could be that going up river is less crowded).We could not get a boat that would go all the way and you needed to stay at the halfway point in Pak Beng. Here is some pictures at the half way point The next day we continued to Huay Xai, both trips taking about 10 hours or so. The boat was extremely loud if you are more to the rear so there was no conversation. If you do travel on one of these boats the seats move so move them to face each other and you have a foot rest for a more comfortable journey. Here is the boat there This was the second one And here are some random pics from the boat...Destination is Huay Xai where I will be doing the Gibbon Experience living in the trees zipping along the jungle canopy
Soooo Ewok adventure coming soon!