Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Laos

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)



9 comments:

seeharhed said...

i'm glad to hear that you guys enjoy your time in the city of my birth place.

right now is probably the best time to visit luangprabang before it becomes chiangmai or chiangrai, thailand.

Tim Halberg said...

haha... wow, yeah, you don't just crush a spider like that with your shoes or a kleenex ey??

Anonymous said...

This is Mom talking. Stay away from big spiders! you are scaring me to death. It looks like they are in your room??? They are going to think you are free game when you are asleep

Anonymous said...

hey guys-wow-the stories and pics are amazing-the kids and I are trying to play catchup in our lessons following your travels and I am stuck on one thing-what city did you leave from australia to go back to New Zealand-I assume Sydney?

Marnie

Lindsey Franger said...

Wow, sounds nice being able to talk with people without them expecting some dang dong from you.

I want to hear more about your conversation with the monk. I really wanted to talk with one in Thailand, but I wasn't sure if they were supposed to talk to girls. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name's Christopher, I'm Amy's boyfriend...she introduced me to your work, your images are amazing. I'm a photographer too, but I wish so much that I could see the world and document it with a camera like you do...I don't have that kind of eye. Thank you for your work, it's beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name's Christopher, I'm Amy's boyfriend...she introduced me to your work, your images are amazing. I'm a photographer too, but I wish so much that I could see the world and document it with a camera like you do...I don't have that kind of eye. Thank you for your work, it's beautiful.

AmyJune said...

Blainer & Tink Hi! Yes...it's true, that was my boyfriend ;). I miss you and love you and I got the postcard. It made me smile soOo much...I wish I could be cuddling with spring lambs in New Zealand.

Can't wait to talk with you.

me said...

Best beer in Asia? Thats not saying much.