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6 months on a leaky boat...

LAOS | Monday, 30 April 2007 | Views [914]

Morning Alms (feeding the monks), Luang Prabang.

Morning Alms (feeding the monks), Luang Prabang.

We managed to catch up with Sean and Adrienne from university in NZ in Chiang Kong (Northern Thailand). It was great to see them and hear their travel stories (and sample their delicious apple vodka from Indonesia). We crossed the border to Laos with them before heading our separate ways.

We drifted down the Mekong River on a slow boat. A slow, slow boat. With 100 big foreigners crammed into seats designed for little Laos people. Don't even get me started on size differences. I still haven't recovered from not fitting any of the clothes marked size XXL in Thailand. XXL!!!! In NZ I'm a size freaking 12!!! Two days, one night and two very sore arses later, we arrived in Luang Prabang, the most beautiful Frenchie-Asian place ever.

We splashed out on a gorgeous colonial style guest house, with a hot shower and a king size bed, paying the princely sum of $12 NZ a night. It was a nice change from the cold shower, bug infested no electricity room the night before!

We've managed to explore the town and night market by cycle, watch an Italian film in a French cafe, visit temples, see sunrise and watch hundreds of monks dressed in orange robes recieve alms of sticky rice, go to art exhibitions, visit a monk school for traditional Laotian art funded by the NZ government, help local university students to practise their English, given our surplus clothes to needy villagers and bumped into an old friend from NZ and caught up over a cook at your table Lao style bbq.

A highlight for Catherine was going to 'Big Brother Mouse' which aims to promote reading for Lao kids. 20,000 villages here don't even have PRIMARY schools, and some of the ones that do, don't even have BOOKS!!!! And there are practically no books written in the Lao language. So Catherine teamed up with Ai, a 17 year old boy, and helped him translate the book he had written in Lao, and typed it up on a computer. James proof read the first part of the English translation. The exciting book about vegetables will be published later this year, and added to the ever growing collection of easily accessible books for Lao kids. We both really enjoyed chatting to Ai and tried to get our heads around the fact that this marijuana necklace wearing Heineken clad teenager intends to be a monk soon!

Tags: Adventures

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