Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 11- Cobras In A Bottle

It's now midday, our second day on the boat, and we've just finished one of the most delicious meals ever. Potato soup, chicken and vegetables, glass noodles and pork. Fresh pineapple for desert. My only regret is that I can't eat more of it, or have it again. And we ate this feast, looking out on the banks of the river, watching water buffalo cool themselves in the water, and fishermen pulling in their nets. I think these may be the two most relaxing days of my life.

The morning passed eventfully, reading and every so often looking up to admire the beauty around us. We passed not much, a small hill tribe market, kids bathing in the river, a fast boat or two (or rather, they passed us). We made one stop, at a small village, where the boatman's wife bought two huge, still alive catfish for their dinner, and we took one three passengers - a young couple and their 2 year old daughter. At first, they didn't come on, Fun telling them (I assume) that we had paid for a private trip. But after assuring him, many times, that we welcomed their company, they came aboard. We took a private boat only because it isn't tourist season, and we didn't know if there would be a regular boat going when we needed to go. The solitude has been nice, but so are the new faces.

We're now about 1-1/2 hours from Pak-O caves, and from there only another hour to our destination, Luang Prabang. Too soon. I'll miss this boat.

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So, Pak-O caves .. Um ... Lots of little Buddhas in two caves. Yeah. Glad we didn't take this as a day trip, although the walk to the upper cave was good exercise.

Luang Prabang so far seems like a nice town. We arrived, showered, put on some fresh(er) clothes, and headed for the night market, which takes over about 3 blocks of the main street each night. Tons of backpackers here - you could tell that a bus or boat just arrived, as the touts had divvied them up and were guiding them to various guest houses around town. We had dinner - fresh grilled chicken and noodles - from a stall in an alley, $2.50 fed both Els and I. Then we walked through the market; it's like a craft festival in any city in the US, but here you can get a silk scarf for $3.00, an embroidered bag for $2.00, or a dead cobra in a bottle for $1.00. We're here for 3 nights, and I expect that Ellery will still be begging me for one of those snakes until the moment our plane leaves.