I am in Luang Prabang, Laos. An idyllic mountain hideaway. Like most idyllic places, more so if one is visiting as opposed to working and living—according to my friends at Wikipedia, the Laotian economy is booming but it still remains at the poorer end of the Asian boom. It is so very low-key and green and quiet here on the banks of the Mekong River. Hard to believe the US dumped as many bombs on this little corner of the world as on all of Europe and Asia during WW2, making “Laos the most heavily bombed country in history relative to the size of its population; [the NYT] noted this was ‘nearly a ton for every person in Laos.’” I am just continually impressed at how good the US is at things that go boom in the night…bad on us…
My plan is to be all caught up on posting when I leave for Myanmar day after tomorrow. So here’s my intro, written earlier today, to this phase of the Asian adventure of 2017.
Oh oh. An excuse to hide out in my sweetly-funky little hotel room. Sick. A little. Better though. Much better. Guess I’ll venture out for a walk. Right after showering/finishing this chapter/writing this post/reorganizing my suitcase/napping/finishing this package of Ritz crackers (the designation of what constitutes ‘comfort food’ varies)/washing some undies/making a list…of something…yeah it’s a little bit like that. And I’m suffering from TWT (otherwise known as traveling-without-Teresa syndrome)—obviously I must quickly get back my solo travel mojo. Do I have a little psychosomatic something going on here that makes me sick so I can hide out for a day? Nah…
I’m going with the idea that I have an authentic excuse for a down-day (malicious 24 hr. cold/flu bug) and, since my hotel is very much at the modest end of the travel budget spectrum, staying in does feel something like an authentic travel experience. Just read an article about how to have these authentic experiences out here in the world, and since getting to know the locals well enough to be invited home for the night/day/weekend/harvest season is far from any introvert’s idea of desirable, I’ll stick to the idea of cheap travel meeting my goal of ‘authentic-light.’ The room is actually fine. The window opens which is my primary requirement of any room anywhere and the few sounds of the village workers and chickens drift up from the alley. There’s a fan so I don’t have to use the available AC, and one side of the room has a plug-in for electronics; I don’t need a bedside lamp with my accommodating though soulless Kindle. The food available in-house is the local bread which is the Lao version of our very own White Bread or a banana pancake that is a strange rubbery kind of substance but also, I am happy to say, the best mango milkshake this side of—Vietnam? Hard to believe I flew from the land of crusty baguettes into bread hell but then that’s not what I’m supposed to be eating in Laos is it?
Let me just say I would rather be sleeping in a blanket on the banks of the Mekong than in a big western hotel, and these little off-the-beaten track places have the whole neighborhood staffing them so I have all of the authentic local interactions a self-respecting introvert needs.
I did venture out for a couple of brief walks today so I have few photos of the sleepy Laotian village of Luang Prabang for you, including a review of the local fried rice and Lao beer. Tomorrow I go adventuring so it’ll be back to travel writing, away from naval-gazing. And there are photo albums yet to come from Vietnam.