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an effervescing elephant

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

what does one do when one has seen all the deep fried pig heads and feet and frogs to eat in the night market and sampled the lao lao rice whiskey and gazed in amazement at the hand woven silk handicrafts? one goes elephant riding, that’s what one does. so that’s what i did.

i ran through all the regular touristy stuff here in luang prabang, including shopping and haggling and wat viewing and taking in a cultural performance of native song, dance and drama. only thing left, it seems, was to go for the elephant ride. so, i chose an outfit called XL (in association with Tiger Trail) that does sustainable tourism and guarantees that at least 25% of the cost to take tour s goes back into the community supporting the tour, such as the hill tribe villages you visit and/or the elephant care center where they provide the rides and mahout (elephant guides/trainers) training courses.
Ban & Ren chillaxin down by the river
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paco lolo in laos

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

sabaidy, dear readers, and greetings from vientiane, laos. we say “lao” over here, not “laoS”. ya gotta drop the “s” if ya want to speak like a native. anyhootie, after a very mellow few days in northern thailand, nong khai to be exact, i’ve arrived in lovely laid back and a little bit loco laos.

my first impression (granted, i’ve only been here for 4 hours so far): good! the folks seem genuinely nice and helpful, and not out to rip me off IMMEDIATELY, unlike in thailand (sorry thailand stokers. this was indeed my burden in thailand, mainly from those tuk tuk drivers. scammers all of them). to its credit, however, thailand does indeed have it’s fare share of wonderfully nice and sincere folks. bangkok was a bit busy and noisy and smoggy for my taste and, since i’m not into shopping, it didn’t have much to keep me there. if i were in the market for silk weavings of any kind, i’d drop big dollars there for sure. gorgeous work they crank out!

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