Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I am mother to two young adults in their mid to late 20's. I work in the medical field as an admin officer/personal assistant. I look forward to the day when I can spend heaps more time taking and making photographs. However, for now, the bills have to be paid. I married a jazz musician many, many years ago. My adopted home is Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. I am originally from North Queensland... a tropical place!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Travel Update - Saturday 10th November 2012

Thursday and Friday were pretty laid back days, wandering the streets, checking out another wat, buying street drawings/paintings, eating more lovely food in great restaurants/cafes, arranging for washing to be done and collecting it, going to the Dara Market and checking out Poisy Hill.  For anyone who has been to Luang Prabang, they will know that Poisy Hill has a small wat at the top of the hill and a monstorous white and gold building which can be seen from many places around Luang Prabang.  There are 180 something stairs up from street level to the ticket office (20,000 kip to go up further) and another 190 stairs to the top.  Nearly killed me!

The 180 odd steps going up.

The 180 odd steps going down.

The gold and white 'monument' at the top of Poisy Hill which can be seen for miles.

The view from Poisy Hill across the Mekong River

Once at the top, the view is spectatular.  You can see almost all of Luang Prabang from the top and I was surprised at how big the town was as we have only seen the main town section of it.  I was hungry and bought a packet of potato chips.  As soon as I started to open the packet (it makes a noise) a small cat come running for some food.  This cat not only ate my seaweed chips but also many of Mary's chilli and shrimp chips.  When the chips were gone, the cat found a shady spot, had a clean and settled down for a sleep allowing us to take lots of photos.

The Poisy Hill temple cat.

Going down the many stairs was worse than coming up and by the time I hit the street, both my knees and my right hip were aching.  I was also very hungry.  Mary and I both wanted to go to the Blue Lagoon Restaurant for lunch as we missed out the night before for dinner because they were full.  Highly recommend the place if you would like somewhere classy to go to in Luang Prabang.  The food was delicious and served in order (entre first, salad next, mains, then dessert), not brought out all at once like many other restaurants do.  The service was exemlary and the complimentary bread and herb butter (2 plates full) were to die for.  The food was quite expensive but well worth the cost.

This lunch necessitated a rest at the guest house so we hit the beds for a nap.  I had hired a push bike to go to the Dara Markets early that morning and to collect my clean laundry and, as I was nearly asleep, I remembered I had to get the bike back to where I hired it from.  I jumped up, left the room just in the clothes I was wearing, collected the bike from the courtyard and then remembered I had left my key in the room.  I told the manager and asked if he could let me in on my return and he looked at me wit a blank face and told me he didn't have a spare key for my room because the last people in the room took it with them and he hadn't got another one cut.  I couldn't believe it.  I took the bike back and came back and asked him how I was going to get into my room.  He said he would wreck the lock to open the door but I would have to pay 50,000 kip to buy a replacement lock.  I told him he should have a spare but finally agreed so he would do something to get me back into my room.

After much head scratching and trying of different methods to get the door open, I left him to it and went to Mary's room and lay down in the air conditioned cool and tried to calm down.  We could hear him banging and swearing and coming and going but, finally, he came and told me the door was open.  Thankfully the lock is still usable because he has not been able to get a replacement because his brother (who will do the work) went to a wedding!

This wedding commenced Friday afternoon opposite our guesthouse and had loud music going until midnight and then recommenced this morning.  It had finished by around 3pm and apparently there is to be an ongoing party for about 700 guests somewhere else - thank goodness.  Apparently there is a curfew for Laos people at midnight - I don't know what happens if they are found out of doors after the witching hour but I was really pleased when the music stopped.

Mary and I were collected by tuk tuk taxi this morning at 8am and taken 30 minutes south of town to Tad Sae falls.  We were really pleased we went early because we were the first tourists of the day and the place was lovely and quiet when we arrived. 

The dock when we arrived.
The dock when we left 3 hours later.
After the 30 minute road trip, we then paid 20,000 kip for a boat trip over the river and upstream (or downstream) a bit to the falls and then another 20,000 kip to get into the falls and 5,000 kip to buy sugar cane to feed three elephants.  The elephant enclosure was clean and luxurous in comparison to the elephants we saw in Vietnam.  The elephants were also very healthy and hungry.  Seeing 3 elephants running at you to get sugar cane is not something you would want to experience all the time.  LOL  Thank goodness there was a fence that stopped them before they reached us.

Mary feeding the elephants.

The Tad Sae falls are not as spectatular as the Kang Si falls but the environment of the falls was much more inviting and peaceful and, as we were the first there, we got to enjoy it by ourselves for a short time.  The swimming hole was beautiful and the water cold, until you got used to it.  The falls themselves provided a natural spa which was invigorating.  We had a totally refreshing and relaxing morning before getting back to town and having a rest time.

Tad Sae falls - the main swimming hole.
Mary wiping herself and camera after being squirted by an elephant.
A beautiful butterfly on marigolds.

Mary found a response to her three emails to a guesthouse in Vietiane advising us they would book a double room for us even though Mary asked for two rooms.  They also said in their email that, if we were not there by 6pm, they were at liberty to rent the room to someone else if required.  Mary emailed back to advise we wanted two rooms and, as the trip from Luang Prabang to Vietiane took between 10 to 14  hours, we would not be in Vietiane until about 8pm.  We then went next door and booked our bus seats (leaves at 8am) and organised a taxi to pick us up at 7am in the morning to take us to the bus depot.

Once this was organised, we went off to the river for a leisurely lunch before going to the book exchange to get more books for the next leg of our journey.  We now have to pack to be ready for first thing tomorrow.  I think it might be a tiring day!


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