Tuesday, January 29, 2008


We have left Cambodia and entered Laos, known for the best beer in Asia, great coffee, and romantic French colonial architecture (all of which is true). It continues to surprise me how different each country is though they are all so close in proximity. The people even look very different from each other. After a few days here it is impossible NOT to relax. Things are much slower and less chaotic, with less traffic, less touts competing for your dollar, and an overall laidback attitude of the people. There are grocery stores and street sweepers, and carefully decorated cafes, which is quite the change of scenery. You can “vacation” here if you wish, rather than just travel. The people are sooo friendly, and not in a superficial way as to get something out of you. We’ve enjoyed being able to let our guard down and enjoy those around us. There are monks everywhere and I had the opportunity to chat with a young guy for about an hour or so, talking about life in general and what it means for him to be a monk. He enlightened me about their daily activities, and how each morning they walk the streets and the local people come out to greet them at about 6:00 am with food and other donations. He seemed like a totally normal 23 year-old who struggles with standing out from his peers and having to follow the rules as anyone would. He told me that he didn’t like the robes, and having to keep a shaved head, but he is thankful because he is able to attend college and one day provide for a family. He has only been home to visit his family 2 times in his 7 year duration as a monk because he doesn’t get enough money from the morning walks and is unable to save. He longs for a girlfriend and to drink beer like the rest of us. The cool thing is that a monk can choose to be one or not to be one, so when he is done with school he plans to get out of the monastery and teach English and find himself a wife and drink a big bottle of beer with friends.

We spent several days in Vientiane and then headed north to a city in the mountains called Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang invites you to just sit back and enjoy the view of the Mekong river, sip your glass of wine under the colored lanterns and breathe in the country air. The air pollution is non existent and we have seen blue sky for the first time in weeks. We have been catching up on some sleep, and had some time for reflecting as we near the halfway point of our trip.

And, can someone please tell me how I seem to run into the biggest spiders no mater where I am in the world! Yes, these ones are bigger then the ones I found in Australia… Much bigger, and badder and uglier. No one who lives in Laos seems to see them but I find them both in one day! Dangit! (Of course Blaine took the snaps, I wouldn't get that close)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Ahhhh, Cambodia…. Cambodia is every bit enchanting and exotic as I imagined, and has far exceeded my expectations of beauty and culture. Yesterday, we explored the temples of Angkor Wat. We climbed in and out of the vine covered doorways, one after another. Trying to imagine what the temples were like in all their glory was overwhelming. We needed a day just to process what we had seen. The light was incredible, warm and streaming through cracks in the stone walls. We climbed up to a high temple at sunset and were met by a red sun horizon and about a million tourists, lol. The food is to die for, the weather is perfect and the experience unforgettable. I absolutely LOVE Cambodia and definitely hope to return here someday with our children (that we don't have yet, haha).
Here are a few snaps.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


So Vietnam also came and went :) We had a blast with Lindsey (best sister-in-law ever) who came to visit us. The overall highlights were Halong Bay cruise, 20 cent beers, amazing food (pho in particular) and sampling goat wine (yes, a dead goat in a jar of liquid)! The people were great when we got out into the villages (by moped, crazy stuff!). Blaine already expounded on my monkey encounter (which I am glad is over!) Apparently your not supposed to look them in the eyes, I think that was my my mistake, which I will not be making again :) and have thus far been successful in Cambodia. Here are a few photos. For a more detailed description of our adventures in Vietnam visit Lindsey's blog. She goes into greater detail of past events than I've had time to.

This was a kiln for pottery in the village we visited.

Our Halong Bay boat group on a hike to an old water tower (great view) and a floating fishery

Preparation for the Chinese New Year