As promised, I’m finally posting some photos and comments about my recent trip to Laos and Thailand. Some of the comments I made in earlier posts, so if I duplicate myself, forgive me. I’ll post these over a period of days (hopefully), so hang in there.
Here’s a photo of my former Andong University colleague, Tyra, with whom I rendezvoused in Bangkok. She’s a Canadian and is now basking in the sun on the beaches of Bali. We also hooked up with Eugene, another former colleague (American), but for some odd reason I didn’t get any photos of him nor did he get any of me. Strange. Perhaps we were focused in on the lovely Tyra. You can see more photos of her at the Photo Gallery. This is at Wat Pho in Bangkok, site of the Reclining Buddha.
So, it was up to Laos after the short stay in Bangkok. I met Nai at the train station in Nong Khai, Thailand, and we crossed the border into communist Laos. Believe me, unless you have to deal with the bureaucracy, you wouldn’t know it was a communist state. The people, for the most part, are not political. Many of them dislike the system, but they accept it with a nonchalance that reflects their easy-going lifestyle, or so it seems to me. If another system were in place, they would probably feel the same way.
Anyway, we hung out at Nai’s house and in Vientiane for several days before heading up to Vang Vieng. Before leaving, Nai introduce me to his wonderful friends, Say (pronounced “sigh”) and his wife Joi (“joy”). Great people, who welcomed me into their home like I was a long-lost brother. I would see more of them when we returned to Vientiane later. Here are Say and Joi sharing a tender moment.
Then it was off to Vang Vieng, about which I have written. Like I stated in an earlier post, the weather was beautiful. Compare the following picture with the one I took last June.
Here are some photos from the river float. I’m not sure I’d want to try this during the rainy part of the year when the river is high. Here are Nai, a lady whose name I forget, and Guy (the friend of the woman) putting in at the start point.
Here’s Nai in a death defying slide at one of the many stops along the river.
And here is Robert, a fellow who was along with Guy and his girlfriend and who works in Vientiane, and Nai with a cool Beer Lao at one of the many beverage stations lining the river. Actually, it looks like they’ve had more than a couple.
There’s not a whole lot to do in Vang Vieng besides float the river. You can explore some caves or do a little hiking in the mountains. Here, Nai sits on a quaint, little, orange suspension bridge that leads to one of the caves. (Notice the Morocco cap he’s wearing.)
After a busy day on the river, though, you can visit, if that’s your thing, one of the many bars along the main tourist drag where seemingly bored tourists lay on futons watching reruns of “Friends,” something I just don’t understand. Why come all the way to Laos and then lay around like zombies entranced by the boob tube? And that seems to be all that these bars show, and there are plenty of them, at least half a dozen, all showing “Friends” reruns, speakers turned up to the max. Idiotic. Vang Vieng is infamous, though, for catering to the “pot head” tourist, so maybe the folks watching TV are actually pretty much “zoned out,” unable to do much of anything else. Just my opinion. I won’t patronize these places; the gal who came tubing with us suggested that we go to one to eat before we went out to the river, but I refused.
Or, you can walk along some of the side streets and try out some of the local food at one of the numerous vendors. Here we found some delicious chicken, broiled over the standard charcoal fire.
Ok, that’s enough for now. I’ll continue the journey to Luang Prabang the next post. More later.