Day 6: This morning we moved from the villa outside Luang Prabang into a guesthouse in the centre of town, while we plot our next move. We slung our backpacks on and after saying our goodbyes, and with a last tummy rub for Lola the dog, we set off to walk through a series of villages and into the town.
The rains last night brought out swarms of termites (which look like flying ants). There are lots of insects around – some we recognise, many we don’t. Lil is a bit over insects generally, as she continues to get chomped, despite rigorously using strong Deet spray. Jim meanwhile hardly gets bitten at all, and seldom uses insect repellent. Enough said.
Yesterday we sat by the river with our backs against a tree, to get out of the sun for a bit. Within the first minute huge red ants were crawling over us, causing shrieks from Lil (particularly as one bit her). We retired to the safety of a nearby park bench and soon after two yellow spiders dropped out of the tree above, and onto Lil’s leg – thankfully she managed to swipe them off before they had a chance to do any damage (assuming they are biting or stinging creatures – we certainly aren’t taking any chances on that front).
The weather has cooled a little (a high of only 32C today, which was glorious) and despite the monster storm last night and more rain forecast, it was another dry day. So it looks like it might be possible to start hiking in a couple of days. Meanwhile we’re enjoying a bit of down time in the town and the guesthouse we’re staying in is really cool. The staff are lovely and the trainee manager is keen to practice his English. He spent 3 years learning English, has just finished 3 years learning Chinese, and next he’s going to study French. Impressive guy.
Part of the fun of travelling is the chance to experience local customs and laws. We were intrigued to read the accommodation regulation notice in our room, which states “Do not bring both women and men which is not your own into the room for making love”. It went on to point out that bringing prostitutes and others into the room to make sex movies is also prohibited. Wonder what an equivalent notice in Sydney accommodation says?
This afternoon was spent wandering around the town. Lots of superb monasteries to visit and craft shops to explore (though we can’t really buy anything unless we ship it back to Sydney). We also took a look at an exhibition on Buddhist meditation which sounded like it might be a bit dry, but turned out to be really interesting.
The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up reading and people watching from the guesthouse balcony.
Then off to an Indian restaurant for dinner, for a bit of a change. The food was fabulous and they had some really cracking tips on what not to do after a meal – the one explaining why you shouldn’t loosen your belt is particularly intriguing: “Loosening the belt after a meal will easily cause the intestine to be twisted and blocked”. You have been warned.
Hoping for another dry and not too hot day tomorrow, so we can go check out some trails on the far side of the river.