How to Spend a Rainy Day in Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang Travel Blog› entry 7 of 15 › view all entries
its raining here, folks. has been for nearly three days.
Well, let me rephrase, it POUREd for two days (shabbos and sunday) and just started to rain again now (monday evening). However, becuase it is not drowing the local cats and washing away the old folk on the street, it doesnt seem so bad. We hiked, Kayaked and played all day and ignored the sprinkels...anything is better than the deluge we've been dealing with since Saturday!
I should note, that rain on a holiday is a fantastic way to practice patience, and positive thinking.
Its raining. Again.... and when you were supposed to be on a two day trek talking to villagers and sweating your brains out as you stare as stunning lime stone cliffs it really makes you hate the bloody stuff.
suck it up and make the most of it. You dont really have any other choice, do you?
Thats what eva and i did yesterday. Sipped coffee, chatted with really interesting people and got over getting screwed out money by a really nasty Ahole (More on that later. needless to say- i DO NOT recomend trekking with White elephant adventure company). Once that was done
for a sufficiant amount of time, we decided to ignore the rain and hit the town.
first we joined forces with another girl, Sandra, that we met while elephant trekking. (shes from Switzerland and traveling solo until her bf can join her in three weeks). Then we whipped out our ponchos, accepted the fact that we would get soaked and walked the streets of LP for hours.
Our goal was to find ourselves a traditional lao cooking class. (Some of the nicer resturants offer cooking classes. )We had to go to a few before we could find one that would start a special class for us last min and on a sunday (most make you book in advance and do not run on sunday). Joining forces with two more girls from the US did the trick. As a group of five we convinced the very nice people of Tamtam returant to give us a private lesson (EXCELLENT class, btw. Our teacher is a chef who has given jaime Oliver cooking classes. i brought my own pots and they were VERY very accomodating - two thumbs up!)
YAY! Class set for 4pm.
from 12-4 we toured the local palace (we were dripping water all over the Royal floors:) got full body massages (Traditional Kamu Oil- to be specific. Eva got an aromatherapy massage...$7.00 each!!) and found a new Guesthouse (nice, clean, basic but good enough...60,000 kip per night...after spluging on our "shabbos hotel" we needed to find a cheaper place to crash)
Once pampered and educated on local royal history, we trudged back through the rain to our cooking class.
Somehow, our class had gone from 5 -12 people. We were now an international bunch (beruit, Saudi A, OZ, US, and england) all looking for something to get us out of the wet.
Three hours and one fantastic cooking class later, later the group had bonded and we chilled over lao lao and new food we made ourselves. The rain continued to pour (it has a nice sound when it hits a tin and timber roof) but we weren't paying any attention. all the fun was inside!
After the class ended (we got diplomas:) The Swiss and the Americans (that would be Eva, sandra and myself + the american girls we met when working on our cooking class) decided to go to the one bowling alley in Laos. Why not. WEe had nothing else to do and it was STILL raining.
After a harrowing tuk tuk ride there (we got screwed out of more money...what a day!!!) We had a fun time bowling in a room with only 5 lanes and chickens running around outside.
im happy to announce that bowling in Laos is similer to bowling in the US.
Namely, the place was A bit sketchy, a bit smokey& we were the worst bowlers in the room.
One cool exception: In Laos you bowl... barefoot!!
This is especially funny because the alley also has a full bar on hand. You can sip a Long Island Ice tea in one hand, bowl with the other and hope you dont drop the damn ball. OUch;)
All in all a great day...even if we did have to ignore the Second Flood that was happening outside. Like i said, Rain on Holiday is a way to learn to suck it up and have fun reguardless of whats going on outside..get creative and enjoy. You'll meet new people, go places you weren't expecting, and realize that weather doenst have to be a deterrent when you travel abroad.
we'll be leaving for chang mai in a few days...iof the weather doesnt clear up, we may just skip town and head down to malaysia or something.
Not sure eather...I was just wondering.
If it doesnt stop raining...I wont get a chance to find out eather:(
I know You have a lot of Very important things to attend to... Droughts to fix, people to feed and the like, so I apologize for bothering You with such a small matter but.... Could You make it stop raining in Luang Prabang? See, its been pouring for the last two days and Eva and I would love to get out and see Your mountains and rivers...Bask in the glory that are Your Jungles and Forests....but we cant do it while the heavens are open and its pouring rain.
: Perhaps take the rain and send it to Western Austrailia for a day or two? I know they need it, and Im sure the jungles of south east asia could handle a day off....
with Love and Respect
but after the spider fiasco, Im secretly terrified of coming across another hairy monster in the jungle.
Pray for me!
Fall off a 48 year old very very tall elephant, OR stay on said elephant and have her fling a large hairy spider in your ear. (Like, so big, it wouldnt FIT in your ear)?
Not ususally a choice you have to make but I had the pleasure yesterday on my elephant trek.
There we were, walking through the jungle and lady elephant gets hungry. Now, When a multi -ton animal gets hungry she does not pick daintily at some grass. She rips half a young tree out of the ground (literally) and eats it. OR she grabs huge clumbs of bamboo and uses it as a fly swatter. Which means you are getting swatted with bamboo as she trys to get rid of these really nasty biting bugs. Not a big deal until it happens.
Elephant grabs a bunch of tree branches and gets ready to pull them off. You notice the largest, scariest, hairest, most colorful spider youve ever seen OUTSIDE a petting zoo. Time slows down. The outside world disapears. Its just u and this horrid Shelob creature eyeball to eyeballssss.
What do I do? if the elephant has her way, she will break off the very same branch Evil on Eight Legs is standing on. She will hit the side of her head with the branches and there is a VERY real chance i will have a big Hairy spider on me.
did i mention i have a REAL fear of spiders? I mean it. I cant look at large mounted ones in the Museam Of Natural History back home.
I know ECXACTLY when to close my eyes in Indiana Jones Temple of Doom.
I mean it. This is not a girly "ew-a-spider" fear. This is a HOLY S**T im going to F**KING DIE! Fear.
so what do you do?
If I move away from said elephant, I will fall off and likely be trampled.
if I stay on, i will be so traumatized I will need years of therapy and thats not so cool either.
Meanwhile, the mahouts dont speak a WORD of english.
so whats a girl to do?
I dont know what other girls would do but Yelled NO NO NO NO!!!! and pointed at the leaf (which they couldnt see from thier vantage point on the ground)> then I made a spider with my hands to show them. (which looks just like moose antlers you set up behind peples heads in pictures except here the "antlers" wiggled).
They got the point and pulled the infested branch away from the elephant.
That was a VERY close call.
PS the mahouts where laughing and laughing for the rest of the trek. I cant really blame them.They eat what Im terrified of. Imagine someone looking at a chicken and screaming bloody murder.
Ah well. Glad someone laughed. I have a great story and am so eternally greatful that the damn thing didnt get me that I dont care:)
Its late and I dont have a lot of time on the internet meter so I'll keep it to boring 'ol notes for today.
Lets see...the last time I wrote I was in Cambodia. Now Im in Laos. Been here for a few days. Its amazing here! love. it.
Day one: Leave cambodia (prettiest little airport ever). Had a wee bit of a mix up as Eva tried to bring silver serving forks onto the plane (she forgot they were there). No worries. Went back to front dest (everything is right next to each other becuase the airport is so small).
Fly on cute little airplane to laos. Terrain entirely different here. Hills and mountains abound...much cloudier up here...sorta looks like a Trex is going to jump out of the forest at any moment and eat you.
Get to town which is small and has a great french colonial vibe. Eva watched our backpacks as I ran around to no less than 6 guesthouses looking for a place for us to spend shabbos. Found a lovely place that is the poshest stay so far on our visit. FIgured we would spend the big bucks for shabbos ( a whopping 35$ a night). great call though. The owners are really nice. Its like living in an asian style Cali home. Open, airy, very well appointed rooms and a bathroom so modern it makes you want to cry (they had a RAIN shower head!!)
Drop our stuff off and go for a walk in town. Landed up at The mekong riverside and a boatsmen offers us a ride on his long boat for $10 = hour. took up the offer and away we went...up and down the mekong right at sunset. SO pretty!
Next day: ELEPHANT riding! we spent the day riding elephants bareback (or more like bare shouldered becuase you are up on thier necks)..We learned (sorta) how to direct the elephat...left, right...stop. WHich translated into hold on tight and let the Mahouts (handlers) do the work. I DID climb on and off my elephant with out the help of a platform...and I got to bathe my elephant... this is how its done:
kick off your flipflops, sit on the elephants neck and guide her into the water. She can swim and put her head under as she breaths with her trunk. You bend over the side and scoop water to pour on her ears and head. The mahouts get her sides and ears.
Back to town - it was right before shabbos so we ducked into a bar to get a nice fruit drink (fresh pinapple, coconut milk, mint, ice, crush = AWESOME!) and shop at the market for shabbos food.
We ate like kings partially because our hosts allowed us to cook in thier kitchen (thank you!!!)
Pasta salad, rice, tuna, tomatos and mint...YUM! first "meal" since I left NY.
Shabbos day: IT RAINED ALL DAY TODAY!! its STILL raining.
so we did what everyone else does; ignore it and move on. we went for a walk, almost slid down a muddy hill in an attempt to find this silk factory (no go, you need to hop on a boat to get to the other side of the river) walked around town...and then, serendipity hit.
I noticed a school and said lets go take a peek at classes in action. It was a lanugage school and we watched as teens and kids of various ages broke thier teeth over english (its hard for a people with 44 vowles to go squish it all into 5). One of the teachers noticed us and asked us to come in so the class could practice hearing the language from native speakers. We ended up teaching a CLASSROOM FULL OF MONKS
"what is this" an d"what is that" and drilled them on pronunciation and vocab for half an hour. I loved it...maybe I should consider doing this when I get back....hmmm
After our Trek, back to lovely lovely dry hotel. Lunch. Nap. Read.
Evas stomach started rebelling against the food, and mine followed suite a few hours later.
We are signed up for a two day trek and Kayak trip though some of the more remote hill sides/ tribes/ streaches of Mekong starting tomorrow. Big gamble that the rain will stop and we wont be dying of dysentary. JK (about the dying...not clear yet on the dysentary:)
signed up with an expat Canadian tour group - all into eco tourisim and green travel - called white elephant adventures. Will report back after.
that is...if I dont get eaten by a VLB (very large bug).