Sa bai dee, Lao!!

How do I begin to explain Laos and its effect on me?  Perhaps it is when you least expect something that you receive what you will treasure most.  I had no expectations about this country.  Almost considered it a bridge between Thailand and Vietnam.  How wrong I was to do so.

We leave the craziness of Bangkok.

Bye, bye Bangkok

In Lao Airlines.   We arrive to Luang Prabang, Laos; what lies beneath me seems like one more scenic landing.  I have no thought of much more.    A huge fun (aka: tacky) bus  is waiting and then a tuk tuk   ride since the bus is too big to enter the city.  We are told that a 40-passenger bus for all 16 of us will be more comfortable when we are on a bus in the incredibly winding and steep road we will take in a day or two, more on that on next post.   My, was he right!

I smile seeing the “traffic” which boils down to ladies on bikes holding umbrellas guarding themselves from the sun.  

Our driver Mr. Peng –who will turn out to be one of my heroes- is all smiles.

Mr. Peng

We drop our bags in the Muang Thong Hotel, which is as lovely as can be.  All teak (a big thing in Laos) corridors  and a balcony I plan to write from later on.  Of course it’s time to eat again.  Oh Lord I am going to just roll back to LA!  By now they expect everyone is tired of Asian food and take us to Joma a café that would feel right at home in my hometown.  As cosmopolitan as it comes.   For my Mexican contingency there’s burrito on the menu!   I sneak out before we head to our next stop and walk down a street to the river.  I pass by a reflexology place and realize that I have yet to have a massage.  

Then I pass a bike rental place that makes me regret that I never learned how to ride a bike.  I have a balance inadequacy that hindered my learning along with a tad of “I don’t want to get hurt-itis.”

I reach the river.  This town can’t be quainter if it tried.

I run back before they leave me.  Another tuk tuk and we arrive at the Luang Prabang National Museum They don’t allow photos but the museum is truly fascinating.   Some beautiful glass mosaic walls.  A throne room.  Bedroom quarters of royalty.   The outside is beautiful too. Next is Vat Xieng Thong. It is one of the most important monasteries in Laos.  One of the structures holds the royal funerary carriage.   Buddhas line its wall.   Some in my favorite position of “stop the war, make peace”. The main temple’s roof is being repaired due to weather fluctuations.  If this country has not taken me hostage before, it certainly has me now.

Flowers are all over the place.

Some live Some dried

We walk to the main temple whose roof is being repaired.   What a sight.

Our guide, Kamsouk, was a monk for 6 years so he prays with us for a safe journey.  I would much need that prayer in a few days.

We go outside to another building,    

where turning the corner a young monk awaits to tell us about his life.  He lives with 30 others.  3 full-fledged monks and 27 novices            

As he talks I glance around the corner and catch this moment when a monk wraps himself in his robe.

           

Next is Mount Phousi, pronounced by our guides in a way that may make it really hard to say in America. J I climb around 350 steps to the top.

Almost there!

The temple on top I am fascinated by doors and windows… aaaand the view from the top        

As I go down I can see the night-market where I will buy souvenirs I didn’t think I’d buy.  

Along the way I stop to snap this photos of two little girls that are more fascinated with their game than worried about selling their wares.

A beer in town (BeerLao –the local beer) then dinner at Ak Houay Mixay Restaurant (try saying that fast)

A staple in SE Asia's diet: Sticky rice!

Chicken Curry

Then “Did I really do all this in a day and not felt hurried or tired???”

Good night my friends.  Tomorrow we wake up early and leave Luang Prabang while every inch of me is refusing to leave.

Destination a surprise.

Categories: Laos | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Sa bai dee, Lao!!

  1. Ah, Laos…. It was so unexpected for me too – no preconceptions and not a place I’d ever really thought about either and it totally stole my heart. What sweet people. What fantastic beer!!! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!! Your posts are making me miss Asia!!!! 🙂

    • I am sure Asia misses you!
      Yep, Laos was unexpected. I am delighted by the country and its people.
      So gentle. So warm. So real.
      Special indeed.

  2. Loving it, I get lost in your words and pictures. I could teach you how to ride a bike then a motorcycle but it is sometimes better to dream it.

    • In my case, you are probably right since I doubt I would be successful.
      Though moments come into my life that really make me wish I could ride!!
      🙂 Isn’t it that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

  3. Silvia

    Que maravillas Lidia!!!

    • Ay Silvia, ni puedo explicar en palabras lo maravilloso que es Laos. Principalmente su gente es gente bella por dentro!

  4. Frances Yniguez Miranda

    Thank you so much for sharing these pictures and your feelings of this place. it felt like if i could smell the smell’s and the air as it touched my skin. You made my day when you took me to Laos with you today. Even the Tuk Tuk ride seemed so real to me while reading about it. Thank you so much.

    • Frances, my turn to give thanks to you!
      Can’t even begin to explain how it warms me that I can transfer a bit of those feelings to you that reads me. That way I can truly take you all with me. 🙂

  5. Am so happy that you are having an enchanted time. I used to ride a bike but no more, it is not true what they say that you never forget. I did.

    • And I never even learned. 🙂
      Hope you are enjoying revisiting with me!
      How are you feeling, by the way?

  6. Dave Silva

    Such fun you are having…makes me green with envy.Be well mujer.

  7. Dean P.

    Great pictures! Almost as good as mine!!! Joking aside, it looks like you’re having an amazing trip. You have to love all those Budbhas. So peaceful. Hopefully I’ll see you in Hong Kong in a few weeks 🙂

    • Hadn’t heard from you so thought that you weren’t coming.
      It will be awesome to see you if you do! Still trying to extend my trip but may not be able to.
      E-mail me when you need a quick response okay? Your comments for some reason did not come up until today.
      Oh, and your photos are way better!!

  8. Lydia Nicole

    What a wonderfully inspired blog. Thank you
    For sharing again. I loved it all.

    Bless you,
    Lydia Nicole

    • Lydia, I am really glad that you are enjoying it!!!
      This journey through Asia has been really enlightening. If I have made your day a bit pleasant I am grateful.

  9. Mariko Ballentine

    beautiful :O) m

  10. How did you reach the river? I’m still eating chicken curry while having my feet massaged.

    • By not spending so much time eating the chicken curry while having my feet massage! Told you’d never reach the river like that. 🙂

  11. I think Laos would suit me to a “T” as well. It is sort of underplayed in the travel world, it seems. Let’s hope it stays so peaceful and calming and is not transformed by tourism.

  12. annie

    Lidia, que lindo, to be around all these beautiful and humble beings, just reading your blog and viewing the pictures brings such a calm feeling… Thank you for sharing… Btw I will buy one of those scarves… Un beso tremendous

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