Friday, 18 December 2009

Laos #2

(click on pictures to enlarge)

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.

I'd love to go back to Vang Viang. This is a picture I took while on an evening walk across farmland near the town. The rice has all been harvested by hand.

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.


Danielle said...

oh wow those pictures are so beautiful...thank you for sharing

yes..depending were you are the water really is weirdly blue..when i was on cuba the first time i couldnt believe how extremly blue the water was even compared to other islands i had been before...even on bad days the water still looked like a travel add..:-)

Shanna Germain said...

Wow, these are absolutely gorgeous! Even the worms :)

Janine Ashbless said...

Thank you, Danielle and Shanna! We took a lot of photos - 1300 between the two of us - so it's going to take weeks for me to whittle them down into those good enough for the photo album. Yes, I still print photos out. I think I'm on album 77 or something...

Any chemists out there know what can make mountain water blue? I'm assuming it's a copper salt.