Laos, Luang Prabang, Vientiane

Changing pace

Now I been a dharma bum on the countryside for a while me deems to go to da cidy once again see folks running round in circles chasing dunno what. Waterfalls maybe? Till they hear a song in the radio telling them they shan’t do it no more. Anyway. Arai go dai.

Now where was I? Yes. The cities.

I spend one night and one day in Luang Prabang. First thing is go to the Guesthouse Suan Phao. Jean recommended it to me. I leave my stuff there and take a stroll at the Mekong Quai.

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Quiet. Noble. And unhurried.

I took my time to orientate myself. It’s not a big city but big enough to get lost. In more than one sense. There is a lot to do and a lot to skip. The night market is not to miss. Alright, it has a slightly familiar déjà vu kind of taste to it. And yet, although I am in Lao, same same but different applies here as well.

Anyway, the way I see it is like, either I manage to avoid the masses or I walk confidently into their midst. The way it turns out, I get a lil bit of both. Suits me well.

I meet a travel compay at the Night market. He welcomes me to visit him in Berlin or in Leipzig. In summer. That’s very kind of you, Alex. Appreciated! You know whom to call when you’re in Austria, pal. I care to go mountaineering anytime.

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The Night Market. It is so long I don't go all the length. What's more, after one or two km i figured that what is offered keeps repeating every couple of hundred meters. Bright bags and jolly trousers, colourful lamps and kids clothes, textile watches and fluorescent light on shimmering bowls. A feast for the eye. I got a shirt.

I go to bed quite early because I intend to carpe the next diem. Getting up early is always a pleasure when u can make it. And do it willingly. Out of your own free will. Not because somebody else hassles you to do so. Be it parents, siblings, mentors or colleagues. Enough preaching, already.

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Street vendors on Sisavangvong Road. Near entrance to National Museum and Theatre Phalak-Phalam

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View from Wat Pa Houak

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Wat Pa Houak (built 1861) with murals inside. Bo ey!

I walk up some steps and come to a ticket booth. Willingly I pay 20,000 kip to climb another 192 stairs. Why not? Support the people you love. And remember Gurdjieff: Wenn wir schon schmausen, dann schmausen wir das Porto eingeschlossen.

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Halfway up the Phou Si mountain: Offerings, reminders, signposts, tokens of gratitude and appreciation.

Up there the view doesn’t give much. Too foggy, dusty, polluted. Not sure but i guess air breathing is not nice down there. Well, OK Bangkok is worse.

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National Museum and Mekong in the distance... from upnabove Undercover Hippy's song echoes in my mind: The human race is a race against time... everybody running and they don't know why...

Better stay up here for a while and listen to the heart beat. Cool Buddha statue in the shade. And a phriendly photographer in the smouldering heat. Thx buddy.

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Excellent view, bro

I go visit the temple on the hill and as well as the site of Buddha’s (huuuge) foot imprint and other ways in the city. Then I strolled around, went by bicycle with friends and went to a good restaurant to have lunch and read a small book about Lao kids learning English with BigBrotherMouse (www.bigbrothermouse.com).

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I like this guy, especially on Tuesdays hahaaa 😉

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Trying to follow in his footsteps ain't easy... it's certainly useful to notice aggrandizement when you come across it... and notice the frustration in comparing...

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The bell of Vipassana has struck

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Have a seat, please.

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If nothing else works you can always sell a toilet 😉

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I'd go anywhere with you...

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Oh Looorde ...won't you buy me ... a Mercedes Benz...

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Traditional storytelling theatre. http://www.garavek.com


I get a night bus to Vientiane. It arrives at 2 in the morning. The driver leaves me at the northern bus station. Tuktuk driver wants 80,000 kip just to bring me across town to the southern bus station. I am tired cuz I could get no sleep on the bus. I curse and I go. Go for two hours in the dark until I reach a park. My right shoulder hurts. Stinging pain comes and goes. On the way through the sleeping city I meet some sinister characters. And i am probably the most sinister of them all. One guy wants to give me a ride for $10 on his scooter. He thinks I cannot go to the bus station. Too far. 25 km, he says. I don’t believe him. I walk on. Dog barks at me. I tell him to fuck off. Dogs bark at me, are closing in. I shut up and continue walking in silence. Before I get to the park – it’s still moonshine time – a woman offers me a ride, but all she wants is money for copulation, really. I am not into that. Tell her that I just wanna get the hell outta here. This is bat country. Car industry and representative buildings wherever I look. Glad to walk along the riverbank of the Mekong. Take rest for 2 hours in the park. Then I get up. It’s 6:30 ante meridiem in Vientiane. I go for another half hour to reach the central bus station. I am lucky. There is exactly one bus going to the southern bus station. It leaves in about 30 minutes. I get a ticket and go to the morning market.

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Perhaps it does not look like it cuz folks move skilfully but it is crowded... or is it just my mind?

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Local bus due south

Buy water, a bunch of bananas and two carrots for the trip south. In about 8 hours in the local bus with the temperature rising dramatically during the day I arrive at Thakek in the afternoon.

At the ticket booth I meet some helpful warriors who just finished the loop. Simon gives me a ride to town on his clanking chinese scooter. We are glad it doesn’t lose any parts on the way.

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