Monday, July 30, 2012

jars and jarring

I was pleased to have given myself extra time in Luang Prabang as it rained for about 50% of the time - and I mean RAIN! Buckets of it all day long. But it failed to stop the enjoyment of the town as it's just so damned pretty!

Besides I had a decent hotel room with private bath for $6.25 a night! It's a bit weird when your breakfast at a decent cafe costs more than your hotel room. But that's Luang Prabang for you.

Several dinners I ate at the evening market's veggy buffet - a large mixed plate for 10,000 kip ($1.25) then I'd go to a French cafe and have a 50,000 kip coffee and dessert!

wat xieng thong l.p.

l.p. museum

luang prabang dragons

l.p. temple


small temple

temple detail

When I eventually left L.P. I was mildly irritated (barely contained expletives) as the large (comfortable) bus I was promised and paid for, mysteriously had broken down and instead I had to get on a mini bus that was already packed to the rafters with locals and other paraphernalia stored on the floor. After failing to convince me to squeeze in with four Laotians on the back seat (made for four not very large persons) for the 8 hour ride to my next destination, instead I took the assistant drivers half-seat which at least had leg room if not back support.

He wasn't happy but then I was paying for the journey and he was being paid.

The eight hour journey passed quite quickly vomit notwithstanding. (The locals don't seem to handle road travel too well.) I was heading for the town of Phonsavanh in order to visit the Plain of Jars. (you're sitting in front of a computer - Wikipaedia it.) The final 4 hours of the journey was on such a torturously potholed winding mountain road that on Google maps it resembles a particularly nasty looking varicose vein.

It was to be a fleeting visit, arrive the evening, arrange transport for early the next morning - see the sights on a full day tour (easiest option unless you have your own vehicle) and then take a twelve hour bus trip to Vientiane the next morning. There is no point spending longer in Phonsavanh - you can see all the sights/sites in one day and the town is as exciting as a bowl of tepid wallpaper paste. (Sorry - my analogies don't work too well in extreme humidity.)

The jars themselves I have to admit were a little underwhelming - but in their defence I have been a little spoiled ruins wise. (I expect the Germans have a word for that...) And it rained the entire time. The track to one of the jars sites was so incredibly muddy that my sandals picked up so much of the sticky clay that it felt like I was wearing boots of steel. I kept trying to wash it off in one of the myriad of rivulets that cascaded down the path. In one small pool, I stepped in to rinse off my right sandal and sank up to my knee.

wet ride to phonsavanh


jars 2

jar et moi

My randoms this part of the trip were two Schweizerdeutsch and a German.

'out of the rain' smiles

1 comment:

Ginny said...

Its interesting you say that about the jars, what is it that makes a site one you will remember always. Weather is definately an aspect as it affects mood. Some sites I have always wanted to see disppoint others are more than I could have imagined. In China last year I think I was less engaged on seeing amazing things than I have ever been because I was unwell, in pain and plain pissed off at times. Travel with other peoples agenda I find more difficult as I age. Anyway you looked cute with a jar which is surely all that counts. Hope you continue to relish life away.