Saturday, September 10, 2011

Laung Probang....Where in the World is Jayne(8)

Delightful boat trip. Gorgeous scenery. Huge karsts on both sides of the river with jungle vegetation growing on them. Later on it was regular mountain jungle with a lot of slash and burn agriculture. I was surprised at the lack of riverside villages with all the fields and the small canoe type boat traffic. Our river was a tributary to the Mekong and for the last hour of the trip we were on the Mekong. During rainy season it's a BIG river.
Luang Probang is a sleepy little city right on the Mekong and we found a room for rent (as opposed to a hotel) with a big balcony overlooking the river. Lao food is delicious and that night we ate at a river side restaurant with great food and even better prices. We had a hot pot--where you cook the food right at your table. The spices on both the meat and the veggies were superb. The next day we ceased being tourists and dedicated the day to us--e-mail, massage, wax job, pedicure, etc. We chose the wrong place to do it. The wax job was good but I forgot to say I only wanted from knees down so paid for the whole works. It was the worst massage I've ever had and Nancy's pedicure was particularly funny. In Viet Nam she had a pedicure with a beautiful flower painted on her big toe. After this lady painted five white dots as a flower Nancy suggested that she put some accent to it. The lady got angry so another person came and painted another five white dots for a second flower. It was a pre-kindergarten effort. I have picture of it. Wish I had taken a picture of the Vietnamese one. The lady had to have seen the Vietnamese one when she took the old polish off so how she could have even said she did flowers is a mystery. The next day we did the tourist thing--the temples and the night market. Nancy had been eying the fish for quite a few days so we had some at the night market food stalls. They do wonderful things with their spices and the taste was marvelous.
Through out the Far East you can see the monks begging for food early in the morning but in Luang Probang it's a special sight. There are large processions of them and people line up along the road side waiting to donate. If you donate it raises your status --with Buddha I guess. Of course this is a tourist attraction--big time. We got up early, early in the morning to see it. The guide book gives all the courtesy regulations on how to deal with this: be quiet, don't look the monks in the eye, keep a respectful distance, etc. All the westerners do well with this. The little group on my street corner followed the procession at a nice distance and then as we came around a corner the Asian tour groups were there in mass in their modern, over-sized, golf cart type tuk-tuks. They were laughing, taking pictures of each other, getting in the monks faces and so on---I've traveled in Asia enough to wonder why this surprised me. At first I thought Buddha was taking his revenge out on me. All my pictures were blurred. Then I realized that I was so excited about taking these pictures that I didn't take time to let the camera focus. Once I focused I got some great shots.
This is getting too long so will close and tell about our second waterfall trip in the next episode.

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