A Travellerspoint blog

Laos

Chapter 5 and a half, 6 and 7....

10th October 2002 (past email posing as travel blog)

well....
i forgot to mention this in the last chapter, but thought it could be an interesting trivia for u all. while were were doing our trek on the 'mysterious tour', we had to 1) crouch to avoid the branches and leaves.... and 2) sometimes lift our leg knee-high to avoid getting caught in thorny bushes.... so much so that i feel all scrunched up at times....
anyway our guide, Noo, told us that during the indochina war, the americans (or was it the french? see, i shouldn't have left this so late, i tend to forget things as u all know)... anyway, these 'invaders' brought in these thorny shrubs so that the lao couldn't run through the forest like they always do!
how rude i thought!....

another passing random memory: while i was scrunched up like a l'il ball floating in knee-high-air, i was also chanting/practising a phrase in the lao language that Noo taught me...
"i thank you for the delicious food"...

just thought i'd share some of my 'random' experience with u. we had many 'random' experiences here....

so...
that was chapter 5 and a half.

yesterday was an idyllic day for us in idyllic laos.
'idyllic' - our new favourite word.
see... 'cos of my short memory, i can't really remember much of what we did yesterday, except shopped. i'd have to say i've never shopped this much in my life! seriously!
i started having fun bargaining... but after awhile, i got quite over it.
i've never bought so many things while i was travelling....
it's insane.
then we just spent the rest of the night at this restaurant with this lovely english couple - sean and suzanne, whom panda met while in cambodia. (or was it vietnam?).

ah! we tried laolao.... this lao wine. man it's potent!
and we also tried khao kum... we love that name!
i love khao kum. i've bought a small bottle to go back with, so all u peops in singapore can have a taste of that khao kum! *grin*

oh oh!... we also went tubing down the Nam Khan – a river that joins the mekong. we can't believe we did it. 'cos who knows what's in the river??
we'd actually decided not to do it but Noo had already went and gotten us the tubes. we felt bad, so we trekked through the middle of town with our tubes.... down to the river. i was debating whether to go in... i mean where do the sewage go if not into that river?? but we were there... with our tubes, and thought, "ok, let's do it".

it took me forever to 'paddle' the tube with my bum in the 'donut hole'. there wasn't a strong enough current to bring us downriver. i got so over it after an hour of trying and got off the riverbank just as soon as we hit the mekong. i was freezing my tits off and had very very tired arms by this time. panda seemed to just flow down the river... dunno how she did it!
the fishermen on boats and by the riverbanks must have thought we were insane doing this during the beginning of winter. the water itself wasn't that cold, it was just that we kept our shirt on (it's not very respectful to be wearing bikinis in laos) and the dampness was making me shiver.
apparently, the locals only go into the river when it's summer.
so.... only crazy falangs like us think it's something fun to do.
we took a tuk-tuk back to the guesthouse... all dripping wet... like 2 wet puppies.

'twas hilarious b4 we left. we thought Noo was coming with us 'cos the tubes were left in the guesthouse's tuk-tuk. we waited and waited and waited, thinking Noo was off on a short errand and would be back soon. half an hour later, Wandalah (sweet lady) came out and said "u want Noo?"
"yes" we said.... still thinking he was just running late. "where's he gone to?"
wandalah went on about him going to the immigration dept for some guests... and something about passports.... and we were just sitting in the tuk-tuk thinking.... hmmmm...... so when is he gonna come back?
finally, we realised we misunderstood each other.
Wandalah thought we were actually waiting for the sun to get hotter! i mean... it was 2pm.... how much hotter can the sun get? and we were thinking Noo was coming back to get us!

today (chapter 7, heh), we got on a long boat and went to pak ou caves. we weren't all that impressed really. except for the 4000 over buddha statues in the cave. we enjoyed the boat ride more. it was idyllic....
had lao noodle soup for lunch at this idyllic village by the mekong. we then took a very IDYLLIC, sedate walk through the village, across the mekong (from luang prabang). nothing like the trek we did on tuesday. which i was half grateful for 'cos i was a very exhausted chichi this arvo. (it wasn't fun waking up this morning put it this way).

had my last Beer Lao at sunset by the Mekong this evening....

we had our cooking lesson with wanderah tonight. the preparation took about 3 hours! me and panda were soooo starving by then. but it was great fun just learning about the region's veges and learning what ingredients to put in these lao dishes, shredding the bamboo shoots the traditional way, and pounding on chilli and sesame seeds and cutting up some other something.
in our excitement, we forgot to bring our notepad down to the kitchen, so we would have to trust our memories. we got to a point where we thought, we'd just have to remember what ingredients go into making the sauce, and we can make up the rest.

we had this eggplant dish with the 'secret' amazing sauce....
some bamboo shoot dish with vermicelli, also with a 'secret' sauce...
a vegetable salad dish with pounded sesame seeds.... hmmm... yummm....
a white mushroom dish with (another species of) sweet bamboo shoots.....
and some pork dish, also with 'secret' sauce.

anyway, i'm just blabbing.
am kinda tired and not in the mood to write but still, i want to. hmm...

i'm leaving luang prabang tomorrow for bangkok. will be there for the night... then back in singapore on saturday.

i know the mails are getting more and more boring... but thanks for
reading anyway =)

lots of squishy hugs and sloppy kisses all round from idyllic laos,
chi.

Posted by Chi 21:30

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