In the evening we all met at 7 to go out to dinner. I had been shopping in the night markets and had to run over to meet the gang. Dinner was really nice. We ate at some Laoatian restaurant located along that pesky Mekong river we have not be able to shake. I got some great local food, wasn’t enough but I mooched off others and survived. After dinner Andy knew of a good bar to go to that was usually hopping and fun. This is also when she first told us that Luang Prabang had a 12am curfew! That is nuts I thought to myself, even worse than Amherst, Mass which was 1am. We went to a place called the Hive and it was all westerners, but in the poorest country in SEA who else would be out at a bar on the river? I had a few drinks, but was really full from dinner and usually at this time of the night all the foods from the day started to digest and hurt my stomach. I really don’t like Beer Lao. People said it was the best beer in SE Asia, I fully and wholeheartedly disagree. It is too bitter for my liking, but maybe that is because we haven’t been able to find a truly “cold beer,” here in Laos. Most refrigerators aren’t always on and since it is so hot, at night the beer is usually chilled at best. I will save my awards for when I return home and reflect on my trip.
It was about 1130pm, when a tuk tuk driver told us of a place that we could go “after hours.” Through his broken english we figured out he was saying there was a bowling alley we could go to and drink. I was not feeling so good, but was convinced by the other ladies to jump in and give it a shot, so we did. We didn’t bowl because some of the others namely Deb “I’m too stingy,” said 15000 kip or a 1.50 a person was too much money, as the english and others say “bloody hell woman!” So we just sat down some had a beer, I had water. I was a little drunk and just really full and feeling the beer and drinks I had at the Hive and at dinner.
After the bowling alley we just hopped back in the tuk tuk to Thong Bay our hostel which was pretty close to the bowling alley. That is why the price seemed so cheap, oh well.
Wednesday May 30th – Today was the planned “chill day,” no waterfalls, no nothing, only optionals offered by travel agents which really didn’t appeal to me. I decided to hang out, tried to have a bit of a sleep in, but that didn’t work and ended up going in to town after others had done their own thing. I got a ride on the back of the sister of a guy who worked at the hostel of his motorbike. I love motorbikes they are fun to ride on. Motorbike, not cycle, there is a huge difference.
I got in to town, walked around for a bit and then settled on a cafe on the main strip to get some western food. I really was craving some sort of pizza, as the consumption of cheese on my trip to asia really had been far and few betwen. So I sat down in the outside portion of the cafe had a pizza, a soda and a water. The perfect combination. I brought out my book, had some food, drink and continued to read my book. I’m almost finished! It was great. After a while, Meredith came walking by and said some of the others were coming by as well. That was nice. I finished up, got my check and headed off with them down the street. Deb and I wanted to stay in the city to check email and wander, the others wanted to go back and hang out before they had to go to the ballet tonight. After going to several internet cafes, we finally found one that worked and that wasn’t full. We only spent a few minutes checking things, nothing major. After the internet cafe is when we found the “10 out of 10” bathroom. I didn’t go in, but others the next day did as well as Deb and from what they described it to be it seemed to be the best toliet in South East Asia. It will forever be known as the “10 out of 10” bathroom.
Oh before the internet all of us went to the bank to get some money. From there Deb and I tried to get a tuk tuk back to the city and eventually I just said “Phousy Market,” (pronounced anyway you want). That ended up being a local market further outside the city, but a successful trip as we got to see where the locals shopped and I got a bottle of shampoo I desperately needed and Deb got an umbrella she really wanted to get.
After that coffee run for deb and the bathroom run, Deb and I wanted to head home. We jumped in a tuk tuk and were off. SHe had planned to go to the ballet with the others, I had decided to pass on that and go back in to town later on and climb Mt. Pussy I mean Phousy at sunset as it was supposed to be quiet nice. So that is what I did. I negotiated a tuk tuk back in to town, walked around for a bit, climbed the mountain, then had a 2 hr massage at the famous Phousi Massage parlor which was nice and legit of course and then really just wandered some more, grabbed a soda at one of the cafes, checked internet again, and went back home. The internet is really cheap here, and since Luang Prabang really dies down around 10 there really isn’t much to do around that time. I was able to use skype and call a few people.
I got back home around 11ish and wasn’t that tired. Morrie was passed out as usual, I decided to break out my little MP4 player from Taipei City and watch some super troopers and pass out.
Travel Day – Thursday May 31st. Today we all got up and had to meet Andy at 815am to head to the National Museum in the city. Some of the gang decided to get up at 515am and watch the handing of the alms by the monks in town. Basically they leave the monistery and walk down the street and people just hand them things; money, food, whatever as a donation to the monks I think for good luck. I said “sorry I’ll pass on that one!” Morrie’s alarm was so loud it woke me up at 515 am, time for the trusty ear plugs. Ear plugs are one thing I have learned is a must when traveling, I mean an absolute must! When you sleep in Bungalows with wildlife making noise, running around, monks banging drums, ringing gongs, and people snorring, it can really make for a delightful sleep if you have ear plugs.
I managed to dooze off to sleep for another few hours and woke up around 7am because people in the kitchen and around the hostel were just so loud, man do they get an early start.
I packed up my stuff, had a shower, and was off. Chan showed us around the national museum, I was feeling tired and really just wanted to sit down, eat some breakfast and relax. Laos has really taken over my body. Things really work at a slow pace around Laos. It is awesome and I love it. Chan did a great job as usual explaining all of the exhibits and things to see. After the museum we headed off to the bank, and back home. We had an hour to kill and I begged the people at the desk for some food. I got two rolls and one piece of cheese for 6,000 kip or roughly 60 cents. Not bad, I was desperate. I used the first piece of cheese on one of the rolls and borrowed Morrie’s vegemite for the second piece. I love vegemite now. I have always enjoyed it. Not only does it really get you over those cravings for salty things (hold the jokes), it is an incredible hangover special. The vitamin B in it completely cures the hangover after like 4-5 pieces of toast your golden. I have tried it already on my trip and it worked wonders, as I have mentioned before.
It was finally time to take off to the airport and head to Vientiane the capital of Laos. We were flying Laos Airlines. The airport was tiny and really cute. I took several photos of it. The plane was delayed about an hour, which gave us a chance to get some food across the street. I had noodles and beef with some other garnishes like mint leaves and other wobbly bits I am unaware off. Elizabeth and I tried to make it the way Chan made it for us at the waterfalls. We reckon we got close, it was sure spicy enough and covered in MSG. It was a nice cheap meal and well worth it. Unfortunately my stomach does not agree and I cannot wait to use the facilities after I finish this entry from the internet cafe.
We finally boarded our twin propeller engine plane and we were off. I was a little scared, since I hadn’t been on one these since Tennesse and what is considered the worst string of flights in my families life. But I turned on Super Troopers again (man I could watch that for ages), and before I knew it we had landed in Vietianne. We gathered our bags from the ghetto baggage conveyor thingy, met our driver and we were off. The hotel we are staying in is called Riverside because it is right off of the river. It is great and has satelitte tv; hbo and espn woohoo!
The plan for tonight is to meet up at 6pm for some pre dinner drinks and then find a nice french restaurant. If anyone didn’t know France occupied Laos during the early to mid 1900’s, so a lot of the country has french influence. Tomorrow is a full chill day. There are a few things I want to see around here, and I will have to read up on them later tonight. The day after that we leave early and start our 7 hr drive to the homestay, and then after that another full day of driving and then some till we get to Halong Bay!
Hope all is well back home.
Congratulations to Brian on his Bar Mitzvah which will be this weekend. Sorry again to the family for missing out, I miss you all, and hope everyone has a fantastic time. I hope to see you guys and gals in the coming months!