I thought I'd start this off with some Laos food photos. Above, a market fruit-stall. Oh the fruit! I must have eaten my own bodyweight in papaya, longans and rambutans.
This is a vegetarian speciality of Luang Prabang: river-algae, dried and seasoned and deep-fried to make big crisps. It's delicious (and supposed to put lead in your pencil, guys)!
Slightly less palatable: bamboo worms, sold live and wriggling. And I'm not even go to show you the rat/bat/squirrel-on-a-stick picture.
Okay, back to nice safe pictures of scenery...
This is the Mekong seen from inside the Pak Ou Buddha caves, which is where statues of the Buddha go when they retire.
There are thousands of them.
A whole lot of Laos is made up of hills, which makes for bad farming and good tourism. This is the waterfall at Koung Si.
And this is the pool, in the river below the falls, that I went swimming in. Wonderful experience. The water really is that weird blue colour, but it can't be too poisonous because there are lots of little fish.
Some of the mountains, like around the tiny town of Vang Viang, are limestone, which makes for caves, sheer cliffs, and bizarrely tumescent hills.
Vang Viang is a weird place - the natural beauty of the scenery is beyond belief, but for some reason it is full of stoned backpackers who can barely summon the ability to stagger out of their huts and go tubing down the river. I guess they're just soaking up the atmosphere, man. (I'm bitter about backpackers because they're young and thin and beautiful and irresponsible. Yes, jealous.) Anyway, we climbed a hill, because we are middle-aged and a bit dumb like that. The rocks are really jagged, close up.
And below - some traditional heavy lifting machinery at work logging.
To be honest, we were reluctant to leave Laos and head into Cambodia! Those pictures next week.