And this is what our hotel looks like ... Poussi Hotel. Gorgeous. Our room is on the ground floor behind the tree. We decided to spend the day exploring the town... and managed to cover only a fraction of all there is to see. The city was formerly the capital of a kingdom of Luangprabang. Until the communist takeover in 1975, it was the royal capital and seat of government of the Kingdom of Laos. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so tourism is their big cash cow now.
The people are extremely friendly, without being pushy, and as we pass they gently say "Sabaidee!" - Hello in Lao. They are also very small... It seemed to me that about 150cm was about averge for most adults.
A scratch on my leg was looking nasty, so I found a chemist and got some cream for it The we went wandering and found plenty of fascinating shops, but because they are catering for the tourist trade, they're all overpriced. Pity.
I was really impressed with this seat, and the screen made of sticks behind it.
Cute elephant and gorgeous cabinet.
Gene is a children and animal magnet and when we sat down to give her leg a rest (did I mention she has a broken foot...??) this gentle dog sidled up for a pat.
I had to take a photo of this outdoor kitchen. You can't see the steam, but how fabulous are those pots?
The next stop was for a fish foot massage!! We sat there for 30 minutes while these little fish gently nibbled away at our skin ... it tickled a bit but felt marvellous. Gene followed up with a manicure while I sat back in the recliner and had a little doze.
There are lots of stunning boutique-style handcraft shops here, but because of the tourist trade it's all pretty pricey (similar prices to what we'd pay at home!!) so we looked, but didn't buy.
We found this 'hut-in-the-jungle' style restaurant for lunch, called Lao Lao Gardens. It was great. We had Pad Thai and ginger chicken curry
I had to photograph the toilet... but you don't see just how low this toilet is. With the floor around it built up with gravel and stepping stones, the seat is actually only 20cm off the ground! That's a very long way down!
Our wanderings took us along the banks of the Nam Khnan River and as we were walking along we could hear men chanting... dragon boat crews practicing for a big festival coming up soon.
I counted 45 men to a boat and when they are paddling at full strength, they fly along.
Plenty of locals sat in the shade to watch and comment on their progress.
I love the building style here... very different to Việt Nam, where the houses are tall and built of brick and concrete. Here they are only one or two storeys high and most are timber. Surrounded by jungle, timber is plentiful, so beautifully carved timber decorates everything. The houses are spread out each on its own block (like at home) and with the climate, plants grow abundantly, so there are gardens and trees everywhere. The other huge difference between Luang Prabang and Việt Nam is that here there is no litter. People don't throw their rubbish on the ground, so everything is clean and charming.
Instead of xe oms, here you can get around in tuk-tuks.
Gene and I stopped in our wanderings for a snack and my pink grapefruit juice came in this fabulous leaning glass LOL. I wanted to buy it, but they wouldn't sell! By the time we got back to the hotel it was late afternoon and we'd done more than enough walking for Gene's foot! A bit of a rest in the cool was just lovely. By evening I began to get seriously concerned with the scratch on my leg, which was obviously infected, so I dropped into a clinic we'd passed on our travels and the doctor gave me some antibiotics and stuff ... hopefully that will do the trick...Then I walked down to the night market to find something for our dinner. There is this fabulous laneway that comes alive after dark... wonderful smells of barbqued meat and lots of happy tourists.
I bought barbque chicken and a variety of the smorgasboard dishes and drinks and it cost about $7 for the two of us. Delicious.
The meat is wedged between split bamboo and comes wrapped in banana leaves... totally environmentally friendly! So ends a great day in this gorgeous place... strong water pressure and a shower in a bath tub so the floor stays dry, skype to talk to Katie and a soft bed... does it get much better than this??