Thursday, October 15, 2009

Luang Prabang to Phonsavan.

Just a quick post today on the long drive from Luang Prabang over to Phonsavan in the eastern section of northern Laos. We have guests arriving tomorrow for a quick weekend, so hopefully we will interrupt these stories with their guest posting. If they are too tired, don't expect a post tomorrow - the Laos stories will return on Monday. We think...

So for the ride to Phonsavan, it's a little over a 6 hour ride on nice tight winding roads that are really in pretty good shape. Once a short while out you get great sights of the mountains and the small villages that are situated along the road way.

You can click the photo to get a better view of the small village there.

We were picked up sharply at 09:00, and since we only made a few photo stops as we were going, by about noon we were pulling into what we believe was Muang Phou Khoun. Basically this is a small stop where the road splits, you can either take the route that we took last year down to Vang Vieng, or over to Phonsavan where we were heading this trip. It's three streets with lot's of shops and markets. We were a little shocked as some of the items that were for sale...
Stacks of edible bee larvae, and not tiny either. Sized like the tip of a pinky finger.
Fried rats.
Fried bats.
Seriously, stacks of rats along with homemade drink.

We didn't try any of these items, instead deciding to stick with a beef noodle soup. Last time the VIP bus that we took zoomed straight past this intersection, I'm sure some of those backpackers would have tried one of these just for the shock value. Seeing that we were alone this time there was no need, I've given up on trying to shock Tina with my antics.

A short time later and we were back on the road and within a few hours the mountains slowly gave way to gentler slopes and gradually to more and more signs that we were approaching a city.
Signs of civilization.

On the way we stopped to visit an old cave that housed an Buddha that was more then a thousand years old and then another that had been used as a hospital whilst Laos was involved in fighting in Vietnam with US support (look up the secret war for more information on this whole non-war war). In one section of the cave the ground was littered with thousands of small bottles - "Operating room" our guide said. It's amazing just because of how hard it was to get into the cave when we were in somewhat good shape and not being bombed.
Gurney that was left in the cave.
Butterfly outside the cave - damn bugger wouldn't stay still.

By nightfall we had pulled into Phonsavan and checked into our hotel - one without air-conditioning. When we questioned the no-a/c we were told that it gets too cold, that no place has it, and that they have fans and screens on their windows. The screens on the windows is something we never would have expected, and it actually was quite comfortable at night.
Phonsavan main street.
Marketing skills - using kids to sell hot peppers.

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