Sunday, 18 January 2015

Luang Prabang part two

Our bus to Luang Prabang with a jack underneath!

Arrived at the bus station well ahead of the 11.00am departure time only to find the last two seats available, oh well, we'll get away early then. Except there was only one seat and one little wooden stool! Guess who got the stool? It wasn't himself I can tell you. So with my shoulders wedged between the seats on either side off we went. I was sitting beside a  nice lady from NZ and her English husband so we chatted away while B found the climbing couple from the previous night in the seats in front of him.

In the middle of nowhere, as oil drips into a tin, this is not looking too good!
The bus driver didn't seem too happy though, so eventually he stopped at a garage, we all got out, the oil was changed and off we went again. A while later we stopped again and two locals got off from the backseat, hurrah I thought, well it was softer on the bottom but very very bouncy. Not sure which was worse really stuck in the back with no one to talk to bouncing, or wedged in on a rock hard stool chatting away! Back in LP the NZ/Brit couple decided to try our guesthouse which we'd actually booked at a very good price before we left. They ended up paying $5 more, but had two windows and a pretty mossie net! Went for a nice drink by the river before going our separate ways. Though we've bumped into them a lot over the last couple of days which has been lovely.

Drinks by the Mekong river with Cathy and Keith from New Zealand
Relaxing outside our room at the Thida Guesthouse in Luang Prabang
We've had a very lazy time since we've been back, but that was the plan, plus I came down with B's cold, so we needed to chill! Yesterday wasn't so much chilling though as shear computer frustration , today has been much better. Plus good kitten day today, one at breakfast and one at tea and biscuits time, well iced mocha and cookies for £6.40 UK prices there! Cute kitten made it all worthwhile, two very polite little Chinese boys were very curious about the kitten, could they pet it, could they feed it bread? They could but it wasn't interested, I explained it probably wanted meat or fish. With that they returned with some delicious looking, very tender, steak from theirs or Mummy's plate! One very full contented kitten purring on my lap!

France or Laos? Only the trees give it away
Curious Chinese boys eye the kitten
We did do one good thing since we were back here though and that was to go to Big Brother Mouse, a sort of drop in centre where at 09.00 am and 5.00 pm students and tourists stop by for a couple of hours so the students can practice their English conversation and you can ask everything you ever wanted to know! Two hours is a long time to make conversation for though! Brian's had a list if words he wanted to know the meaning of, they both struggled with ubiquitous, but mine just wanted to talk. Don't know who it was harder for really! Two hours well spent we thought we deserved a beer. It was great to see about twelve students and twelve foreigners all interacting though, even if it did get very loud! It is such a simple thing, I wish it was in more towns.

A contented kitten!
Not the only contented kitten!
Off to Vang Vieng tomorrow on the VIP bus (big bus) so at least we should get a seat and the luggage should remain dry! We even get lunch and a toilet on the bus, both of which are a bit scary! On the little buses toilet breaks happen at the side of the road when someone taps the driver on the shoulder. As ever, much easier for the men. Think I'll be crossing my legs for another six hours!

One of two bamboo bridges that have to be replaced each year after the floods in July. This one costs 7000kip each return, giving access to a tribal village and some guesthouses. Its right at the junction with the Mekong river
Luang Prabang peninsula from the other side of the bamboo bridge (Mekong on the right)
One of the many Wats in Luang Prabang. Beautiful wall paintings, but many of them show scenes of torture and death, we don't know why
Monks pounding their drum but, again, we don't know why

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