Tuesday, November 21, 2017


The Royal Palace

Laung Prabang is for some of our down time from adventures and travels. In celebration, we have had our laundry “professionally” cleaned. 2 kilos worth. YEA! Sinks can keep you from not stinking, but there is nothing like the clean of the machine. 

Sunset on the water
Luang Prabang is a long peninsula along the confluence of the Mekong River and The Nam Kan river. The name Luang Prabang means “Royal Buddha Image” and is a Unesco World Heritage Site – which basically means, it’s real purdy here. 

All these stairs just to get to the water
We putz around our first day, getting our bearings in town. Towards the end of the day, we decide to splurge on a boat trip up the Mekong at sunset. All the boats are long boats – some longer and fancier than others. There are hundreds of guys that hang around the steep shore line waiting to take you where you will, for a price. Monkey Man strikes a deal with Mr. Shing and off we trot down the royal staircase to the edge of the flood line, across mud carved stairs, jumping onto bamboo tracts and finally a floating dock, where our ride awaits.
Having fun

From the level of the river, there are newly planted gardens as far as the eye can see. The locals await each year for the dry season to plant crops in the high nutrient soil along the banks. Folks are squatting, pulling weeds, while half naked children play in the water and grandpa fishes with a solitary line. Fishermen are still out in their boats-reed baskets full of fish. In the shallows, we spot bobbing water bottles that are traps for the little fish, to eat or for bait. 

Mekong foot picture
The Mekong has a mighty current. There are rock formations in the center. On our left is another temple, with a dozen or so orange robes drying on lines on the beach. This scene plays out on both sides of the river, as far as Mr. Shing takes us. If you are on a river, you are still near some sort of civilization. 
Lovely homes around here

Our tour is for 2 hours. In the distance lies the construction of the new bridge, which one day will link China to Laos. It will change this part of the world forever. We ask Mr. Shing is the bridge a good thing? 
“I don’t know, “he replies.

Long Boats everywhere
As this is such a cute town, so “done up” and an Unesco Site, things are a tad bit more expensive. Too many of the restaurants are “western” style, the ones offering Laotian Fare are upscale. All the real/poor people live across the river. We find ourself at the night market, ‘cause there has to be meat on a stick there. The night market is tchotcke’s we’ve mostly seen everywhere we’ve been. There is not much new here. This is where everyone buys their elephant pants and women buy thin cotton clothes that help with the heat. We spy a tiny alley way, in the midst of t-shirts and purses – it’s the food alley! Yes, there is meat on a stick, fish on a stick, soup-soup-soup, dumplings, baked goods and some rough looking “buffets.” I get vegetable dumplings, Monkey Man orders a half chicken on a stick, with is then placed on a grill to warm it up. To round out our meal, there is a Laos Salad, which I think is made of papaya and peanuts and of course, sticky rice.

Hello Kitty Seats
We sit at the meat stick’s table next to two young men. One is from Germany, the other South Korea. The German has been traveling for a month. The Korean just came in this afternoon on the bus from Vientiane. Both have some English and want to talk-especially the Korean. We have great conversation and travel stories. At the end of our meal, Mr. South Korea walks with us toward our hotel and his. We do a selfie together. A nice ending to our first day.
Sunset on the Nam Kan River

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