If you get up real early you can catch the monks making their rounds. They must start around 5:30 or 6 am. We caught them on their way back to the temple at around 7 am. The local people make food for them and then give it to the monks as they pass by. People are out on mats waiting for them, and when they see you come by you can buy something from them to give to the monks. I bought some kind of rice thing wrapped in leaves and gave it to a young monk.
Luang Prabang has some cool street & night markets and some good restuarants on the riverside. A meal was about $2 and a room was about $2 a nite also. The guesthouse we stayed in was mostly teakwood. Teakwood floors, desks, furniture.
After Luang Prabang was a harrowing ride through some huge ass mountain range. We’re in bus full of people careening around 270 degree turns with a sheer cliffside and of course no guardrails or anything. After I made my peace with the Lord and accepted my inevitable death, the ride was alot easier. The 400 foot drop-off remained scary however. At one point a guy in the front gets up and just starts handing out plastic bags. I’m thinking, ‘oh sweet, trash bags, good idea.’ Well, they were not trash bags. The next 30-40 minutes was a roller coaster ride through this mountain, the bags being puke bags. About 12 people started puking into the clear plastic bags, then heaving the bags out the windows. That was entertaining. Oh, and the best part was the near zero visibility due to the fog, or as our altitude would have it, the clouds.
We stopped for a piss/puke break and i see this guy coming on the bus with a sweet army green bag slung over his chest. Im thinking ‘sweet bag’. Then he climbs over the seat (there were huge rice bags in the isle) and i see something sticking out of his jacket. Oh.. That was a sweet -ammunition- bag. The thing poking out is a machine gun.
Apparently according to the guide book, we are on Rt. 13, which happens to get hit by armed bandits every so often. Great. So there are people who are revolutionaries or somehow involved in the Lao Revolution who are still up in the hills and shit. Ah, that is great. I guess the guy with the machine gun was our protection, but I wasnt sure, so I just tried to avoid him. Machine gun guy also helped change our tire when we got a flat.
The next stop was Vang Vieng, which was a really cool town. Its right on a river with mountians in the background. The Americans built an airstrip there back in the 70s and that is basically what the town is based on. Now there are a bunch of cool bars. At alot of them you sit on pillows around tables and drink beers while listening to some pretty cool music. They played nothign but Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, and some other crazy mixes that inevitably had Bob Marley in them but poeople singing blues or rapping. ( heard an awsome Marley/Lost Boys mix as well as Wylclef/Snoop/Marley).
Vang Vieng has some caving and some river tubing. I decidied just to chill out and drink a few beers by the riverside bungalows. At nite down by the riverside there were firepits, hammocks, riverside bars, etc. I bought a toy plastic axe and gave it to John (new zealand) for his b-day. He carried it around to the bars at nite.
ONTO VIENTIANE – THE CAPITAL OF LAOS!
Thats me in front of this bridge/memorial thing. After we bombed the living shit out of Laos, turning it into the most pock-marcked peice of land on the planet, we (the United States) gave Laos a bunch of cash for redevelopment. Apparently they just built this bridge thing.
Vientiane was ok. Too busy for me. Caught some Muay Thai at night, about 8 fights.
Right now I’m sitting in a bar in Bangkok on Khao San Rd. which is a huge backpacker hangout. I have a flight down to the islands down south tonite.
Time to move on to the ISLANDS. p-p-pace