Friday, February 24, 2012

Crisis Averted. On to Luang Prabang

Morning on the Nam Ou
My latest self-amusement is writing topical haiku.  Here's one:

For argument sake
let me just say I'm sorry
for being a bitch.

Sorry for leaving you hanging.  When the alarm went off, the reality of yesterday's events flooded back into my head.  But I was curled up behind Colin and didn't want it to be the last morning I woke up that way.  After sleeping on the idea of quitting this adventure, I told Colin I wanted to stay.  We both apologized and agreed to talk instead of keeping things pent up. We also agreed to give each other the benefit of the doubt when things go wrong.  We kissed and made up, shedding some tears in the process, and then looked around the room at all of our gear, which was now divided.

Now we have to repack ALL of this crap!  At least we knew where it all was supposed to go, it was just a matter of reuniting all the camping gear, all our paperwork, clothes, and so on.  Once that was finished, we sat on our porch and savored another cup of delicious Laos coffee while appreciating the beautiful view.  After another trip through the “shower” (which didn't seem quite as bad as it did yesterday.  Okay, it was as bad, our states of mind were much improved though) we got on the road for Luang Prabang.

Morning on the Nam Ou
It was another cool, misty morning on the river, making for some great photo ops, but it warmed gradually as the sun burnt through the fog.  Luang Prabang was only about a hundred miles away, and the road followed the Nam Ou all the way to the city.  The road itself was in pretty decent shape, just a few garden variety potholes and the odd repair job, with the exception of one area of landslide.  It must have covered the entire road before crews started working to remove the huge piles of dirt and rocks.  By the time we got there, they had one lane mostly cleared, though we did have to wait for the equipment to move before we could pass.  We made it to Luang Prabang at about 1:00pm and rode to the lovely guesthouse where we stayed before, the Somkhounmoeung.  It was just as nice and as welcoming as before, but almost twice the money this time.  I was able to negotiate a better price by about 20 percent (it pays to be a return customer) so we stayed.  We unloaded the bikes and made a beeline for the market area for lunch.

Our favorite sandwich lady in Luang Prabang
Laos was a French Colony for many years, and the best part of that history that still remains is the sandwiches.  Even though public displays of affection are frowned upon in Laos, we walked hand in hand to our favorite sandwich stand.  A popular breakfast and lunch item in Laos is a baguette sandwich with a variety of fillings.  There are many stands which sell them near the night market area, and we had a favorite the last time we were here. Sure enough, two and a half years later, our funny sandwich lady was still in the same spot, still making delicious sandwiches.  We opted for the chicken, bacon, and cheese with fruit shakes to wash them down.  We love this lady not only because she makes great sandwiches, but also because she is so damned funny.  She smiles, laughs, and talks to herself while she works, either having a good time or she's nutty.  The last time we were here, I watched as she made our sandwiches, and she had a dish of some kind of dry, flossy looking stuff among the fillings on the table.  I asked what it was, and she paused for a moment, before giggling and uttering a mooing sound.   After walking around a bit, we went back to the room to work on some writing. 

That evening, we headed through the Hmong night market gauntlet (it's several blocks long, but there are really only six items for sale: the same paintings/prints on handmade paper, scarves, Beer Lao t-shirts, quilted/embroidered bags, ugly pants, and sticky rice baskets) to get to dinner at Nisha, the place where Colin discovered his love of Indian food (who knew it would happen in Laos?!?).  We dutifully followed the GPS directions, since we couldn't exactly remember where it was, only to see a partially demolished building where Nisha should be.  After walking up and down the block, trying to see if we missed it somehow, we started, dejectedly, back up the street.  As we sadly, passed ex-Nisha, I overheard a man telling his companion that this was where the Indian restaurant used to be.  I butted right in and asked, “Nisha? Is it closed?” and to my relief, he told me they moved and kindly gave us directions to the new location, which basically involved walking back to our guesthouse and another two blocks the other way.  When we finally arrived, we were overjoyed to see the familiar sign and, needless to say, had worked up an appetite on our walk.  While the new location is not as picturesque, the food is every bit as good as we remembered.  The food here was excellent, and in my opinion, better than any of the food we had in India.  It doesn't hurt that our accompanying beverage was Beer Lao instead of Kingfisher.  I'm happy to report that over dinner, Re and I were laughing and talking like yesterday never happened.  But we both know that it did.


  1. Hi from California. I am really glad you decided to continue this amazing journey together. You have both inspired me in so many ways. Please remember your loyal readers are thinking of you and wishing you the best!

  2. Hey Guys, come pass by in Luang Prabang,