Our laosian family!
Trip Start Oct 27, 2008
33Trip End Oct 27, 2009
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Loved Luang prabang. It was so much more cultured and calmer than Vang vieng. Its the law that everyone has to be off the streets and where they are legally registered to stay by 11:30pm. So by 11:00pm the city is dead, and awake again at 05:00am to offer the many monks alms. Which is offerings of any sorts made by the local people to the monks. There wasn't many sights to see in the city, apart from the waterfall. So i really enjoyed relaxing and living like a local for a few days. Well almost like a local, i found out from speaking to some locals who spoke little english that the average wage is $1 a day, and more about the true scale of the poverty Laos suffers. Everyone prays they won't get sick because if they do they almost cetainly die. There are no hospitals in Laos and until 10 years ago it wasn't accessible by road. Despite this poverty they are such kind, friendly generous people who are just happy to be alive. We stayed in an amazing guesthouse that was run by a family (there was about 30 of them!) surrounded by other houses, it was a lovely little community. They called me and Giles their family and every morning they gave us bananas. On our last night we joined in with a party they had. They didn't let us pay a penny for the alcohol and food. It was such a humbling experience. I've never experienced that kind of generousity from people with so little but so willing to share. Interesting that there is no word in Laos for ''mine'', or any other possessive words, just "ours".
Giles: Luang Prabang definitely had its charms. Felt very French (most of the buildings were colonial and French was spoken more readily than English) which isn't always a bad thing! I practiced what little French I could remember form school days with the chief of the family whose guest house we were staying at. Such a lovely gent, always calling me and Sam family and handing us bananas and lao-lao (god-awful tasting rice whiskey, so abundant it's bottled in 500ml plastic bottles like water). Great place to just relax and do not a lot. We did do one piece of sightseeing and it was perhaps the most beautiful waterfall I've ever seen. Also had a bear rescue centre there with 20 odd bears just walking about, lounging in the sun and eating... in other words just what me and Sam have been doing all this time!
Semi-adopted more cats again - this time three kittens from the same litter, worryingly disease ridden but it didn't stop me from feeding them and cuddling them. They even had most of my lunch one day, a massive fish caught in the local river only 200 yards away that morning and barbecued infront of me. Not normally a fish fan but when it's that cheap and local, plus my audience I had to cater for, I had to get it.
Laos has definitely been my favourite place so far, such a chilled out people and lovely country. Off to the Temples of Angkor tomorrow here in Siem Reap, and never got my hands on an Indiana Jones fedora so I won't look quite the explorer next to the monuments!
Much love, Gam and Siles xxx