Hello friends. It's been awhile since I've posted on my blog. The last six weeks has been a blur. June was a month of goodbyes- lots of fun memories with plenty of laughs, and then a definite share of sad, teary farewells. However- no time to catch up on June now! July is here and with it, a load of experiences to blog about...but no time (or motivation??) to write! I'd better get started...
I'm in Luang Prabang, Laos. I am on a two-week adventure with my friend Ashley. This is the second chapter of our trip- the first could take awhile to tell you about because we saw, heard, experienced and learned a lot. We spent four days experiencing life in the Mae La refugee camp, located near the border of Thai and Burma. It was fun, overwhelming, filled with opportunity and memory-filled, hands-on, courage-giving and like nothing I've experienced before. We made good friends and listened to many stories- many of which I hope to tell in one way or another. I took a lot of video while I was there, so at some point a video will be compiled and shared...with hopes of communicating the stories, struggles, and strength of our Burmese friends. That's all on Mae La for now...more to come (I'm in the midst of catching up on my journaling- to give you an idea- I'm on page 9 and I haven't even arrived at camp yet :).
Back to Laos!! I love it!! Here are some reasons why...
-It's soooo laidback. I think of Hong Kong and other cities I've traveled- Hanoi, Bangkok, Kolkata...and I laugh. As soon as we drove into the city, I felt someone turn down the volume of life. And that is a good thing!! If people are stressed in Laos, they sure hide it well..
-It's soooo cheap!!! Daily (or maybe twice daily) banana-pineapple shakes? 1 dollar. Fresh baguette sandwiches off the street? 1 dollar. Our quiet, clean and well-cared for guesthouse? 3 dollars each/night. Our two-way one-hour ride to the waterfall today? 3 dollars. Hour-long foot massage? 4 dollars. YES!
-It's beautiful! As they say in this part of the world, "same-same but different" from its neighbors. Gorgeous blue skies, plenty of palm trees, waterfalls, and green green green. Luang Prabang is spotted with temples and orange and yellow clad monks wandering the streets.
-It has very impressive initiatives towards sustainable tourism, better than any place I've seen yet. One particular group, sponsored by World Bank, has outlined and published many, many ways that tourists can be responsible as they enjoy the country. You can check it out here- it's called Stay Another Day...very well done!!
I guess that's enough for today! We are off to do a bit of shopping in the market and then it will be a time for a foot-massage (essential, right?!). Tomorrow we are going on a two-day trip which involves trekking, kayaking, biking and staying with a Laos homestay family. On Monday, I will fly to Cambodia for a final three days before heading back to HK for a last weekend before my one-way ticket to...CANADA!