December 28, 2011
Today was a transition day. We woke in Bangkok and are now in Laos. More specifically, we are in Luang Prabang, the former capital and Laos’ spiritual center.
It has recently become an incredibly popular travel spot. They have almost 100 hotels/guesthouses now. Fifteen years ago, they would have had less than a dozen.
We have not really explored the village yet, but I can say that it feels like a Nepalese village and Phuket’s resort area had a love child. There are hotels with $300+/ night rooms and restaurants with extensive wine lists that are 50 feet from native Laotians eating on their floors.
Luang Prabang is at the confluence of the Mekong and major tributary. The riverbanks are lined with outdoor eateries lit with hanging lamps and flickering candles. The community feels like a beach town more than a river town.
I will share more later.
Here are a few addition thoughts in this otherwise short blog.
After thinking about it, Bangkok is Houston:
We have added one more travel companion: Matthew Shapiro. He attended Kellogg Business School one year before Susie and Silver Ma’am. He is a voracious traveler who has loves exotic travel to more remote locales. He has been in Burma (where he was traveling with only a Burmese guide) before meeting with us.
Silver Ma’am has told us how excited she is to travel with a family. Clearly, this is the type of comment made by someone that does not regularly travel with 3 teens and a 10 year-old. I suspect she may change her mind. I, however, have not discerned exactly what poor Matthew thinks about this. I love my family, but traveling with this crew is an acquired taste, like sea slugs or jackfruit (a sweet-tasting fruit that smells like death - literally). When you are in the mood for either, they are the only thing that will satisfy. But if you want a normal meal (say grilled cheese and fries) and find yourself smelling jackfruit, you are not that thrilled.
OK, we just returned from dinner and I can report that Matthew will be just fine. He has a gift for life that we will enjoy being a part of.
Before I leave you., I would love to tell you about our dinner. We are staying in a different hotel from our friends, so we needed to take a tuk-tuk to meet them. A tuk-tuk is basically a small motorcycle that pulls a cage that you sit in. Here we are in our first tuk-tuk:
We then had to cross a the river and walk through a bamboo thicket to get to our restaurant. The bridge was literally made of woven bamboo and was very giving (as in, it moved substantially with every step). Here are shots from our crossing and the path to the restaurant:
Here is the the bridge illuminated over the river.
We discover the city tomorrow!