Mi Bodeguita del Medio

While my blog is named after a restaurant in Havana I hope to someday visit, here you will find musings, rants, political incorrectness, thoughts on Indian Nationalism, strong straight-forward opinions and tid-bits.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I thought Cambodia was the land of smiles - till I came to Laos!

I cannot believe it, but I am in Laos. After spending a great week in Koh Tao where yours truly became an "Advanced PADI Open Water Diver," :) I was back on the road when I was told that I didn't need to personally be in Muscat at the spanish embassy for the visa stuff, that my parents could manage it, and that my plane ticket home couldn't be changed anyway - that meant I had another week in South East Asia. It was tempting to just say, oh well, Laos can wait for another time, let me just kick back and chill on the island (what with great diving, a nice dive friends circle already and the beautiful scenery.... ) but then I decided against that and in favour of taking off and coming over here (will write more about Koh Tao when I am back home, complete with pictures and maybe the video that I got done of me diving). From Koh Tao, came down to Laos with a Basque friend (make no mistake - Basque, not Spanish) who decided she wanted to see the country and that this would be a good, quick opportunity to do it.

We paid for very expensive Bangkok Airways tickets (13,200 Thai Baht / almost 300 Euro, about the same my Muscat-KL ticket cost me!) from Bangkok to Luang Prabang, and I was on my way. Took the ferry from KohTao to Chumphon at 2:45pm on the 21st, and arrived by bus to Bangkok at 1am. Flight to Luang Prabang was at 9:50am, decided to spend the night at the airport. By the way, the blue seats on Bangkok airport make for a comfortable crash spot. Arrived in Luang Prabang (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site) at 12:45 noonish , managed to find a guesthouse that wasn't full, and we rented bikes for $1 after a refreshing cold shower off I went around town (didn't want to lose one of my only two days there!)

Sawadee... this is what everyone says with that dazzling Lao smile (actually this is what they say in Thailand as well). Think it means welcome. Notice how I said "Lao" smile - all things from Laos are Lao whereas the country itself is Laos (the 's' is pronounced). Persons from Laos are called Lao - so Lao people... things from Laos are also called Lao things.... the most famous example would be Beer Lao.

Back to Luang Prabang, honestly, I was a bit disappointed. There are old French style neighbourhoods, but nothing that would make you say wow. I didn't understand what the fuss was all about. The most impressive to me are the Buddhist temples in the typical Indo-China architectural style. It was blazing hot, so having rented a bike was a good idea, went around the city, the national museum, then to the market after getting a bite to eat, bought some stuff... later on after it became dark and a bit chilly, went to the night market which was huge and filled with amazing stuff, where I shopped some more for souviners and gifts. Since I've constantly been meeting people, I havent felt alone at any point in the last few weeks. There is always someone to accompany you anywhere you go, or you decide to accompany someone where they are going.

Woke up early this morning and took a minibus to Vang Vieng which is where I am now. After 6 hours of rickety bus and rickety road we finally made it here in one piece, and to my pleasant surprise, I have a guesthouse that, for the first time in weeks, has a hot shower!!! It almost feels like luxury now. My bungalow in Koh Tao was lovely, but it had a cold shower. I am now off to look around town and later to a river party, and tomorrow to the Nam Song river for tubing and rafting!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment