05.05.2011 - 06.05.2011 28 °C
We decided that on our last day in Luang Prabang we should get up early and view the monks receiving their daily food from the local people. Yee (our guide at the elephant camp) let us know how to observe the ritual politely – keep quiet, maintain a respectful distance from the locals, and to sit down so that the monks were higher than us.
It was really nice to see that the traditions are still alive even though the region is fast becoming one of the main tourist destinations in Laos.
We were surprised when we got a knock on our door later that morning by Yee. He had been to the office and picked up our official ‘Mahout Accreditation’ certificates and decided to deliver it to our door. What a great guy!
The rest of the day we just hung out and got another massage before we boarded the bus at 6pm to Huay Xai – a border town between northern Thailand, eastern Burma (now Myanmar), and western Laos, and also the doorstep to the Bokeo Nature Reserve where we plan on doing The Gibbon Experience (next blog entry).
The night bus was unsurprisingly hellish, for the first time on our whole trip we were freezing cold – the air-con was pumping, and so was the local Laos music…all night!! I’ll try to describe Laotian music for you. Basically if you have ever played with a cool electric keyboard that has those pre-programmed beats that start with a touch of a button – whether it be ‘rock’ with its cymbals and drums or ‘pop’ with the upbeat techno sound – you have your starting point. Add some cow bells, some horns, some shakers, and of course a high-pitched whiny voice and you’ve got yourself a number 1 hit. The only thing that changes between songs is the singer and the words, all of which sound the same to us. So that was what we listened to for 13 hours. It certainly wasn’t made any better with the rocky, pot hole riddled road winding through the steep mountain passes. But oh well, we expect it now so it isn’t a big deal.
We arrived at Huay Xai bus stop early the next morning and after a short tuk tuk ride into the main city we checked into a guest house and slept for 5 hours. The rest of the day was uneventful; all we did was feast and walk around the town. Although tomorrow brings us to day 1 of our 3 day adventure into the jungles of northern Laos as we embark on ‘The Gibbon Experience’ – exciting!