Monday, July 6, 2009

Adventures in Laos

So, after our evening of massages and internet, you can only imagine the appetite that we had worked up. Dave and I headed off to find somewhere to eat and ended up at a restaurant in the main street named Tum Tum Gardens (we think). Dinner was interesting. Not good, not bad, but interesting. Of course we had our sticky rice which we are slowing getting addicted to. Then we had some chicken dish with celery and some other greenish mini tomato thing, mushed together by coconut and a prawn dish that had 6 shrimps and some type of lemongrass mush on the side. Like I said, interesting. Oh, and we started with possibly the best chicken satays we've ever had.

After, we went to the Hmong night market.
It's amazing over here. 9 at night and the streets are packed. We walked through aisles of stalls selling basically the same thing, t-shirts, homemade scarves, bedspreads, purses... By now, you probably already realized that we bought a few things. It was still raining and we were tired of being wet, so we headed back to the hotel that of course still had the stain on the bed. Plus, when we went to shower, we noticed a stain on the towel. Oh well, can't always live in the lap of luxury.

We woke up this morning and were anxious to begin our day. Luckily, the rain stopped right as we were waking up at the ripe time of 6:30 am. We got ready and headed into town to have breakfast and get ready for our tours today. Breakfast was at the Scandanavian bakery where I had the croissant and fruit salad and Dave had ham and cheese on a croissant. I forgot how good European pastries are!

After breakfast, the tour company put us on a tuk tuk and we headed down to the pier (basically a break in the trees along the hill to the river where we crossed over several other long boats to reach ours. We ended up on a tour with 4 Laos Ladies and an entire ecosystem. Most of the time on the boat ride found us staring at the ceiling waiting for the snail that was crawling over our head to fall on us or one of the many bugs to land on our legs. Did I mention that we had taken the slow boat and I am not exagerating. We were passed by everyone! After the 2 hour ride (it was supposed to only take an hour) we stopped at the Pak Ou caves which are caves used by the village for religious ceremonies and filled with hundreds of Buddha statues. The first cave was ok, but the second cave was extremely dark and went back 54m. Very cool, but thank goodness for the light on our camera! Along the way, Dave was terrorized by a snail that decided to move slowly back and forth right above his head.

Next stop after waiting for the lady who was 15 minutes late to get back to the boat was the whiskey village where they make Laos rice wine.
Of course, we were able to find ladies sitting at their looms and we could not walk by and not help them, so we made a few purchases. We finished our boat ride back in Luang Prabang without incident from mother nature (except for some rain) and took a quick tuk-tuk back to the travel office for our next tour. Luckily, we had 10 minutes to spare (becuase our boat was so slow) and we grabbed some crepes for lunch. Nutella for Dave, peanut butter and fruit for me. YUM!

Next stop was on a crowded minibus to the Kuasi Falls. We were left off in a small village and walked up the path to some amazing falls. High, but not huge, however, the power was amazing. Probably becuase of all the recent rain since there were picnic benches being covered in the flow. We decided to follow the young, barefoot backpackers up a steep slope to go check out the top of the waterfall. Not only was it steep, it was wet and slippery and was the first time I have realized I am no longer a young student who can do these things gracefully anymore. Going up was fine and the view was beautiful from the top (probably even more beautiful if you're willing to go to the edge, which Dave and I were not. But the climb down was another story. We did it well, but very slow and let every group pass us so as to not slow them down. But we made it and I didn't have any help and felt very proud of myself, as well as wet and smelly!

(author change) Back at the bottom of the hill we took a left and headed to the bear rescue center. There were a bunch of bears- Asian bears are much skinnier than the bears we have at home. These were very playful and seemed happy.

Back in the van and on our way home. We stopped at our hotel and headed to dinner at a place called The Pizza. I had pizza (not a fan of Laotian food) and Carrie ate yellow curry and sticky rice. Both were good (I enjoyed a bit of the curry). We walked home thru the market and bought more things- some gifts and some self-gifts. Then, off to bed- monks in the morning!

1 comment:

  1. I know I joked a lot about buying children in asian countries, but I didn't know they actually sold kids in the market. How much was the kid on the blanket?