Luang Prabang, Lao Peoples Dem Rep
Our breakfast at the hotel is set on a terrace overlooking the beautiful gardens. Since the chef is French, the breakfast was filled with all things French and it was delicious. We were picked up early and were driven to the Royal Palace built in 1904. You could really feel how King Vong lived with his family, from their photos, to the furniture they used in their living quarters, which were huge and all the gifts given to them by foreign dignitaries. Their cars were also given to them by foreign countries and of course the most generous was the U.S. Must be nice to be a King! Our driver then took us to a dock where we would board the traditional Mekong cruise, which consisted on open windows, bus chairs and student wooden tables, an interesting hodge podge but it worked. The jungle pretty much butted to each side of the river with an occasional hamlet of a few houses. We stopped at a village where they make whisky out of rice after a couple of glasses you probably felt a little Lau Lao which is the name of the whisky. We walked the town , visited another temple; this one was quite colorful and tacky. The roads were of dirt, no one has running water, they go to the river to fill up their jugs, every home resident sells something on the first floor, like dead snakes , an elephants penis and few scorpions in whisky. It must have some kind of medicinal use! Then we continued our cruise to a local restaurant on a badge serving us local fares always with sticky rice. It was average but it was right in front of the Pak Ou caves which had one thousand Buddhas spread all over the dirt and under the stalactites with a great view of the Mekong. Great to see once! Lastly we stopped at a weaving village where they also made papier-mâché, books, bags, art. It was actually interesting to see them processing the art. We all bought something . When we came back on our hour long cruise ride, everyone fell asleep with the wind blowing the drapes in the open window with the barge basking in the waves. It was a zen like experience backed by a great scenery. We were to get a massage, see a show and go to dinner. Most of our group went but I did not feel so well,so I fell asleep at 6.45pm.