Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Day at the Falls - Luang Prabang


I realized today that my life is severely malnourished in one respect, Bears in hammocks.  One can never get enough.  It reminds me of the day that I discovered Legos or first set foot in a Costco.  How?  you ask yourself, did I go for so long without knowing about such a thing.  I could stare at these creatures for hours, just relaxing, in hammocks.  

  To start our day, we decided to climb Phou Si hill. On our way to climb the hill in the center of town, we walked by an area that was full of these rice cakes baking in the sun.

 They look pretty tasty 

 Sort of tortilla-esque

 We met up with the son of Mr. Thangi, who would be our tuk tuk driver for the day.

 A look inside our vessel, we negotiated a trip to some waterfalls

 A more colorful tuk tuk 

 The gang loaded up, excited about our hour commute to the falls.

 We stopped off at a hill (Phou Si) in the center of town, and slowly made our way to the summit. 

 The prevalence of dragon heads is always a good thing.

 Ryan found a hole in the wall, and we all gathered up to inspect.

 We found this small shrine after doing some light spelunking

 Buddha has a pose for each day of the week.  Here we have Tuesday Buddha at right reclining.

 More Dragon Banisters, remind me to get these in my house someday
 To reach the top took about 30 minutes 

 It afforded us great views of Luang Prabang. 


 The butterfly shrouded view

 boo and boo at the top

 Side ponytail FTW?

 We found the no eaters club hanging around a stupa at the summit.

 This stupa crowns Phou Si hill

 Ryan surveys the landscape

 Luang Prabang is an inland island, flanked on all sides by dense vegetation and hills

 A Temple 

 We really wanted to make our way up to this temple, but never did 

 Golden dragon 

 On our way down, we passed a bunch of monks talking on their cell phones and smoking.

 We saw a good cat fight 

 Dragons coming out of dragons?  Genius.

 After hitting the bottom, we hopped in our tuk tuk and made haste for the hinterlands.

 Luang Prabang is a sleepy little place

 We finally arrived at a village outside of the waterfalls, and found our favorite treat, fried bananas.

 Why are they making these faces you ask?

 These sour little fruits.

 This little guy was my own private admirer.  He followed me all over this small village.

 Furmonster of the day

 We stopped by an Asiatic bear rescue center, and these guys were awesome.  This fella is cooling off in a plunge pool.

 Enjoying an afternoon snack of leaf

 Look at this bear owning the hammock.  This blew my mind. 
 Sleepy Bear 

 Some people enjoying a natural watering hole 

 The water was very pretty here 

 We sort of just kept making our way towards higher ground, passing fall after fall.

 We stopped for a picture 

 An idyllic looking water wheel 

 A large waterfall.  People were congregating in the small cove underneath this fall, but allegedly, there was a secret pool and waterfall area at the top of this waterfall.  

 This is a further out view of the prior waterfall.

 We began snooping around, looking for a path up into the hills to perhaps reach the secret area.

 It was not an easy path straight up the mountain, and at many times we questioned our direction.  We saw no other people and it seemed almost to steep to be the way.

 At the top, we waded through these pools of water filled with fish, and possibly leeches.
 This was definitely the jungle and we shuddered when we passed by an extremely large fresh turd, thinking perhaps, that it could have been left by some sort of large beast.  A tiger perhaps?

 The path we did not take.  We basically had to follow the "do not enter" signs, until finally we climbed up a very difficult water fall and over a ridge to reach... 

 A secret pool at the top of the waterfall.  This pool drops off to form the large waterfall that I photographed earlier.  It was like a mecca.  

 Seriously, look at this place.

 It gave a great view of the valley 

 We almost gave up 3 times.  Once, when we saw the poop.  Second, when kristin thought she heard something in the jungle that sounded like the smoke monster from Lost.  Third, when we saw the waterfall I would have to climb up with my camera and lens bag.  A Long haired friend from London helped me get my camera bag over the falls that we had to climb.
 
 We hung around for about 20 minutes and headed back down.

 It was a tough road, Kristin bouldering on some waterfalls.  We eventually made it back down to the bottom, and walked back to the first pool area.
 Figured this was worth another picture 

 I look like a real chubster here.

 A view of our pool that we rope swung into

 I promise mom, we wont swim in any pools in laos.
  Ryan getting air.

 Meagan 

 It was late afternoon, so we made our way back to Luang Prabang.

 But I had a craving.

 For more bears in hammocks
.
 Tough life

 We cleaned up this lady's fried bananas, but unfortunately, they slid out the back of our tuk tuk, all 15 of them.

 Some crafts 

 Village Road

 On the road back to Luang Prabang 

 I love how the clouds hangs in the mountains here.  We all went out for dinner at a place called tamarind.  This spot educated us about laos food and I am going to share with you our dinner.  Lao cuisine blew passed our expectations.  Everything tasted so different and unique.  One of the cornerstones of a Lao meal is dipping sauce that you dip your sticky rice in by hand.  It sounds strange, but it works remarkably well.  You actually eat everything with your hands. 

 Mango Lemongrass Crush
 Mulberry Green Tea

 Banana Cinnamon Coconut Smoothie 

 Tamarind Tea

 Sour Spicy cucumber salad - I cried when i ate this, very spicy.

 Ping Som Moo - Barbecue cured Pork wrapped in lemongrass with dipping sauce and sticky rice 
 Luang Prabang Snack - sticky rice with seaweed crisps and sweet spicy chili paste.  This was amazing.

 Oua Si Khai - fragrant lemongrass stuffed with chicken, kaffir lime, and coriander with dipping sauce and sticky rice 

 Gaeng Nor Mai - Bamboo Shoot Soup - looked like swamp 
 Mak Pa - Banana Leaf fish in delicate dill and basil sauce, steamed in banana leaf.

4 comments:

  1. Another magnificent set of pictures portraying Justin's view of life in Luang Prabang, Loved the bears. What a life. The food looks very interesting!

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  2. The pool at the top of the waterfall was sick. Food and crafts look very interesting as well...especially from my cubicle. Thanks for the viewing.

    -Stan

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