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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Leaving the Peoples Republic of Laos

Long story this time!!

The first day in Luang Prabang was nothing more than finding a room and going out for some BeerLao. The second day I rented a bike and cruised the town. By accident I bumped into Ryan again (the guy I spend lots of time with in Vang Vieng). Got him a bike as well and did a little temple and market tour. Decided that I was willing to pay a little extra for a swift move to Vietnam instead of spending days in hot busses, so I booked a plane ticket to Hanoi for Thursday evening.

The next day I signed up for a boat trip to the Pak Ou Caves and a minivan trip to a big waterfall. Leaving at 8.00 in the morning, the group was dropped in a slowboat and we took of for an hour upstream to the cave. It is fun for a while, but the scenery along the way is not that exciting and your butt starts to hurt after 15 minutes on the hard seats! Made a short stop at a whisky-village and then continued to the cave. Small cave with lots of Buddha statues in it. Nice, but not really worth going to... On the way back we saw how the Lao people make their own paper and the boat dropped us back in Luang Prabang around 13.00.

At 13.30 the van to the waterfall left. This place is definately worth a visit! Nice walk, great water and amazing views!!! When you are in Luang Prabang, go there! On the way back we played foot-volleybal with some Lao kids. Great experience!!! That night we went for a drink at the LaoLao Garden and ended up in the Vietnam Bar, the only place in the city that's open after official closing hours. Few more drinks there and I was getting really drunk by that time. The TukTuk we took home didn't bring us straight home... he first made a stop at a random house somewhere and invited us in... Old woman appears and she starts waking some younger ones... The next thing is that Mamma San is showing us her "merchandise"... had a good laugh and left with purchasing anything ;-)

Wednesday I subscribed for a cooking class. I only got one fellow-cook: Richard, a 56 year old English guy who drove all the way here on his motorbike. After a trip to the market where we bought all our ingredients, we started preparing the dishes. Lao food is relatively easy since you just put everything in a wok. Nevertheless, again a fabulous local, cultural experience. Our teachers were called Neng and Leng and they made sure we had a great day. Washed the food down with a few beers later that night together with Richard.

However, not everything is funny around here. Getting money is a disaster!! After Tuesdaynight I was broke... only had my ATM card and creditcard. But it is known around here that at one bank you can get money with your creditcard. Big Visa/Mastercard sign on the door, so I was happy. Stood in line for 20 minutes and when I gave the bank employee my card he simply told me that a Postbank Mastercard cannot be used because it works with Interpay... Whaa!!! Stress!!! Luckily I was able to borrow some money from Ryan and I just e-banked the money to his Dutch bankaccount. Knowing that my Mastercad did work with the travelagent I booked my plane ticket I decided to go back there again. They agreed to give me US$ for the small charge of 6%... Oh well, it costs a little, but I definately learned my lesson.

Vietnam, be prepared because Ruudje is coming!!!
Mr. B.

1 comment:

Shoshannah said...

Dear Mr. B,

I sincerely appreciate the effort at English - really really seriously! ;) I can't wait to enjoy some of these wonderful adventures with you in Thailand! Just 3 more weeks!!!!!! (I'm counting down - and not just in my head, on a calander, can you tell?) Have a great time on the islands and DON"T DRINK TOO MUCH!!


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