Friday, March 31, 2006

Lao = Wow

Greetings from Laos. Though they leave off the s on the end, so it's just Lao.

(fyi, i am on a 36kps dial up, so we'll see what happens here.)

Laos is AMAZING. This is what I thought Asia would be like, and why I felt a little bummed out with Bangkok. Because, honestly, seen one big city, seen 'em all. But get out of the big city and into this fairly undiscovered country, and the game totally changes.

WE took Bangkok Airways (motto: Exclusive transportation to exotic gems" or something like that) in a direct flight. IT was a propeller plane, whcih made me nervous as hell, as the only other prop flight i ever took left me green and sick. But it was very smooth and the service was excellent. Highly recomend Bangkok Airways.

Got to Luang Prabang airport, and it was teeny, and surrounded by craggy point mountian'lets, like you see in Japanese woodcuts or in Thai landscapes. COOL! Wen through the visa purchasing, passport control and customs processes (forms for each, with passport photos and 30USD for the visa) and we were picked up by the hotel, the Grand Luang Prabang.

The hotel is on the Mekong river, and it's lovely. They spent ALOT on building this place, and it is quite stylish, but what i have discovered about Loas is that they do alot of htings they THINK tourists want, but they sort of do it in their own way. It's been funny, to say the least. Dinner last night was ah oot, the waiters don't just hover, they sort of gather and stare at you while you eat. If you ask for ketchup, they also bring Worcestershire, Tabasco, Soy and Fish sauces, just in case. Oh, and chili sauce as well. And they bring each thing individually, as well as each dish, each fork, knife and spoon, and the flowers and then the candles. The waiter literally took about 100 trips to our table during that meal.

Anyhow, early night last night, woke up to a lovely day (though hazy as it is "slash and burn" season here, where they burn the fields to prepare for crops) and got on our very own hired boat for a trip up the Mekong. The Mekong!!! Seriously, what the fuck?

Se we went up the Mekong, past town (we are outside a bit at this hotel, though will move into town tomorrow) and to the most amazing cave I have ever seen. Called the caves at Pak Ou, it is a place where they retire Buddhas, and have done so for many many years. There were thousands of Buddhas all over this cave, and altars and candles and it was amazing. Right by the river. Yes I have about a million pictures but cannot post them now, too slow computer. We lit offerings and soaked up the place. IT was incredible. Some monks came in, in their saffron roabes, it was lovely., There was an additional cave a steep climb up the hill, so I went up there too and got some brilliant shots in the dark with my wonderful camera. Damn it takes great night shots.

After that to the town of Pak Ou, where we had lunch. Two of us ate for five bucks. The town is the caretaker of the caves, they watch out for it, as they have for hundreds of years. Thatched huts, straw cottages, mud streets. Mostly on stilts by the river. I got lots of pics, don't worry. They had a lovely Wat, where the monks (boys aged 13?) played soccer and hammed it up for the cameras.

Thence to a village where they weave silk. Yes I bought a few things. Amazing scarves and table runners and wall hangings. Made right there. We were the only foreigners there.

Anyhow, I know this is short but words cannot describe how great it was. Anyone who gets the chance, and comes to Bangkok., must make the extra trip out here. It's SO worth it.

The mosquitos are eating me up (the computer is in an open pavilion in the garden!). WE have someone coming to our room to give us massages. 10 bucks an's a stretch, but we will manage somehow.

Oh and I have found the perfect beer t shirts...BeerLao. Too cool.......

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated. No spam gets through. Don't try it. I Love comments from real people though! Thanks!