Sunday, September 9, 2012

Luang Prabang!!

This morning started out as usual for a Sunday... with a children's class at 7.30am, but that's where usual ended.  Mr Cường picked me up after just the one class and I finished off packing my back pack and by 10.30 Gene and I were on our way. We have come to Luang Prabang in Laos (reputedly "the Pearl of the Orient") for 5 days. It was quite bizarre yesterday when I was talking to Katie about our pending trip and the fact that I hadn't even begun packing my bag... for I realised that it felt like heading to Scotts Head for the weekend, rather than planning a trip to an exotic foreign country! Quite strange, considering...
Anyway, we caught the VIP bus to Hà Nội and arrived at 1pm. Gene has a list of reliable taxi companies to use in Hanoi, but none of them were about when we got off the bus, so we caught a taxi from another mob... and ended up paying 185,000d for a trip to the old quarter that should have cost 70,000d. Being ripped off is very annoying. But we didn't stay annoyed for long because we went straight to Joma ( a chic coffee house) and caught up with Will!!! 
  relaxing at Joma's

We agreed that was a wee bonus for day one of our holiday LOL. He enjoys hanging out there when in Hà Nội. He leaves for Thailand in a day or two. We had lunch and relaxed for a couple of hours before catching a Ma Linh taxi to the airport (not ripped off). 
While we were waiting to check in, we had a drink and these boys outside were looking at us, so we started waving and for the next 15 minutes we laughed and communicated through the window with sign language. You can see that they were fascinated by Gene's antics...

Vietnamese kids are gorgeous... even through a grubby window!  They were absolutely delightful and loved posing for my camera!
We flew with Lao Airways on a small, new jet and the flight was only 1 hour. But the most extraordinary thing was that we actually left early!! I have never known of a commercial flight departing before the published departure time!
  Hanoi by night!
It was dark and raining when we got here, so I haven't seen anything yet. We're staying at the Phousi Hotel and it's large and gracious and our room is lovely.
Tomorrow we'll go exploring. Looking forward to that!

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