Laos 19. Snapshots of Luang Prabang and Laos
The first thing I notice when I strike out on my first Luang Prabang recce is the texture of the sound. It is, best way to put it, like a damper pedal has been pressed. The scooters are abundant and buzzing. They are one, two, three, four-up. Sometimes five. The streets are busy. But the noise… It is cut by several decibels compared to, I would say, everywhere I have been so far.
I don’t understand why this is, but do snap a lot of shots of the people on their bikes — with their umbrellas up for rain, and also for sun. Snap them for my artist friend Sam Cross back in Durbs who rides a scooter she calls Phalesia.
Because I am here now, in Laos, I want to know where I am. Anyone reading this who does their homework first and goes in with their eyes open and everything planned — good on you. And in my next life…
In the here and now, though, I Google “cheap Laos guides.” Just want the basics. A primer.
There’s a Rough Guide to Laos ebook, for Kindle, for $2.99. Perfect.
But yikes. Just looked it up to link to it and now, when making the time to update my Thailand blog, and find it listed at $21.39. Keep looking and find it for $14.99. Seems Amazon prices change depending on the search term, maybe the search location and perhaps from one week to the next.
Back then, lucky me. I wanted something cheap and simple. I got something inexpensive and comprehensive. Pay my $2.99 to Amazon and download it to my iPad.
And reading the history section in my room, after sussing out the night market — food and goods sections — and stopping in here and there for iced Lao coffee and sliced fresh mango and pineapple and hearing myself squawk when the biggest tropical bug I have ever seen (gargantuan, I write in my journal) leapfrogs over my open-sandled foot, skimming it when I involuntarily leap like an Olympian, while on my late-night walk back “home,” learn that the Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, left Laos with the dubious distinction of being the most heavily bombed country per capita in the history of warfare.
Going on a recce earlier has become more appropriate than I imagined.
Feel grateful the French legacy has been embraced, specifically in the food, despite all.
Also grateful that I am in “languid and lovely Luang Prabang: one of the most alluring places in Southeast Asia.”
© Wanda Hennig 2016, story and photos.