The last time we were here we stayed in a great little place on the other side of the river from everything, and while we loved the hotel, it was not all that thrilling to me walking across that high bridge in the dark. The middle of the bridge is reserved for motorcycle traffic, and pedestrians are relegated to the outside walkway. The boards are loose -- sometimes 3 boards wide, sometimes 4 -- and some boards are warped, there are random nailheads sticking up which require me to keep my eyes on the boards, which means seeing through to the muddy river far below. All at once it will get to me and I am nearly paralyzed.
So this time we chose a hotel on the side of the river with all the stuff there is to see. The hundreds of gorgeous wats, the restaurants, the Hmong night market, the shops, the riverside walk. It seemed more filled with tourists this time than last, but maybe I'm not remembering correctly. By the time we got to the hotel it was around 3pm and we'd spent the last 26 or 27 hours getting there. After a change of clothes and getting settled in, we headed out to walk around the town. We'd already made a reservation for dinner at 7, at Tamarind -- a restaurant we ate at last time, and coincidentally next door to our hotel.
The pictures in the previous post followed us around town, down to the river, in the streets, to the restaurant. We were pretty shattered, and at 6 went to the restaurant for dinner. We were asleep by 8pm, deeply exhausted and looking forward to our trip to Nong Khiaw the next day.
|Lao breakfast -- Marc's noodle soup (L) with fixings (middle), and my rice porridge (R)|
And SO BEAUTIFUL it is, too. Our room has a porch that faces the Nam Ou and some giant mountains that are just otherworldly. When we arrived it was sunny and just looked for all the world like a movie. We ate some lunch -- a vinegary green papaya salad -- and we swam, though the moment we decided to jump into the small infinity pool at 3:30, the sun slid behind the mountain and it was cold. We were in and out of the pool pretty quickly, and while we were drying off, another guest slipped into the pool and looked at up us. Marc said, "It's cold, isn't it!" and he said in his chipper British accent, "It's refreshing!" We all laughed through chattering teeth. My stomach still wasn't great so I rested a bit while Marc explored. We wandered into town, crossed the bridge under the night sky, and ate Indian food at Deen's - $6 got us channa masala, chicken tika masala, rice, and garlic roti. We were asleep by 9pm.
But this morning, oh this morning. The first morning light was astonishing. Soft soft soft coming over the mountains, and low-lying mist everywhere.
|the view from inside our room|
|gorgeous just around the bend -- that's the yoga studio with the blue banners|
|if only the pictures could capture it|
|the security gate at our hotel. yep. bamboo. big gaps.|
|walking toward the market|
|this is the corner -- turn right at the umbrellas|
|oranges? limes? RATS? and um, no idea what the thing at the top is but check out those teeth.|
|the market materialized and was gone a couple of hours later|
|I wonder if people get there early to get a particular woman's stuff because it's extra good.|
|peppers, everyone has peppers|
|the view from our breakfast table|
|walking to the bridge.....can you believe it? I can't believe it!|
|standing on the bridge looking toward Vietnam, I think|
|on the bridge looking the other direction. that's the boat dock, obviously.|
|i don't know. i just can't believe it. it's too beautiful for words.|
|OH did that feel good. Excuse the hammock.|
|All good things end with a bit of a corpse pose.|
Tomorrow morning we're getting in a boat for a ~6-hour ride up the Nam Ou, where we'll stop in some small villages that are only accessible from the river. We'll poke around in some caves -- karst landscape is brilliant for caves. And once again, it will be us in a boat on a river in southeast Asia, which is certainly one of the best places to be.
Yeah, we just want to stay here. Skip Luang Prabang, stay here until it's time to go to Hanoi, come back here again and again and again. Live here. But the hotel is booked and I do want to eat in that alley in Luang Prabang again, so our only solution is to come back here another time. Gosh this place is so beautiful. I can't believe it.