Not sure about my overall impressions of Laos as they got dictated to by the number of days I was there.
Spent a couple of days in Vientiane the capital which was pleasant but I was stationed in the middle of the backpacker hub so not a hugely cultural experience. Then went up to the even more well renown backpacker mecca of Vang Vieng and my purpose was to rock up and maybe cross paths with my niece – which I did! So a great catching up with my niece experience.
And finally I had one day to get my culture on in the beautiful city of Luang Prabang which I did but a day was a bit short.
Still when on the move we do what we can. My only disappointment is I can’t really comment on the countryside and level of poverty in this country which is usually my passion and interest in a country – and I know it is very different to my tourist experiences I had. Still nice to have some gold to uncover when I go back next time (not that I like gold – just using it as an expression to experience the humility and humanity – pretty much the opposite of what gold represents in our society, so not the best phrase!).
The stand out was to spend time with my gorgeous niece and our chance meeting which happened the second time I was walking down the street in front of the restaurant she happen to be eating at, outside and near the footpath (one of a good 50 restaurants in the place!) – pure pleasure and super shared experience. Another top moment was going into an English school in Luang Prabang and giving a few classes and then shooting the breeze with a few late teen students including a monk and asking him all the probing questions about Buddhism and being an 18 year old!
So if going on the worn path is your thing I probably just had your best holiday and I hate to be a ‘wanker true traveller’ who boasts about not have a Lonely Planet and going where no other foreigner has gone before but personally for me doing the tourist hot spots doesn’t do it for my style of travel but I love that we all have different styles of travel and shouldn’t look down our noses – particularly my long nose at those who do follow the worn path or those who don’t follow the worn path – just accept there are different paths not better or worse.
Lame blog but got some good pics of monks which we all love eh… and better than a blog about the huge online fight I had while in Laos about free volunteering and paying for volunteering – will flesh that one out at some stage!