On top of the World

I have absolutely loved Vang Vieng, but I was excited to leave and see more of Laos. What I wasn’t enthusiastic about was between 7 and 8 hours on a coach on yet more windy roads. Feeling sick on a coach is unpleasant at the best of times, but when the views are as great as they are in Laos, it feels like even more of a waste! It just feels so untouched and unspoilt here, it’s really awesome.

I decided to try and put my motion sickness to the back of my mind and plough on with Gone Girl. I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I thought I would – I wonder if too many people had hyped it too much. My theory was correct (it’s never as good if you’ve worked the ending/twist out) and I am pleased to have finished it. It was still a fairly good read though. I think everyone is reading it on this trip, at least a third of us have finished (or are part way through) now.

Our first stop of the day was on a random bridge, I only got out of the bus because everyone else did. The views were alright down the valley, but nothing particularly special in comparison to what we had already seen. Our second stop however, was breathtaking. It felt like we were on top of the world, literally. Luang Prabang is at 1300m above sea-level, so we have been climbing as we drove, and when we reached the rest point you could tell. Many of us took the chance for a comfort break, the squat toilets no longer putting anyone off. When we entered, the door locked like normal, but there was no back wall, you just looked out on a spectacular view. I think they might be the best toilets for a view whilst relieving oneself that I have ever seen. (Sally, next time, don’t look at the door!!) We all managed to get a shot standing on a log overhanging one of the summit’s slopes. It’s a shame the view is less prominent on the pictures, I could have stayed there for hours.

Once we were back on the bus, I braced myself for a long drive until lunch. I struggled, not going to lie, but with the help of some Disnye tunes and some mints (thank Katja) I made it. Lunch was at a lovely roadside venue, well, the view was lovely as was the food, the venue itself was nothing special. Next door sold traditional Laotian wine, which contained a bear – no joke, an actual bear. There was another with an unidentified animal in too. None of us braved it.

After another gruelling 2 hours (this has been by far the worst travel day we’ve had) we arrived at Luang Prabang, and got changed. I put a long sleeved shirt and cut-offs/trousers on. Yes, Laos gets a tad chilly, well less warm, at night. It’s great. Feeling a little cold here is distinctly more pleasant than at home. Lek let us know about the night market, and we all decided to check it out. I think my eyes must have looked like saucers, I wanted so much. We spent by far the most money there than we have on anything for the rest of the trip barring activities. About time I say. I also sold out and got Western food. Not intentionally – I didn’t want street food and Lek took us to a lovely, but Western only, restaurant. Oh well, I’ve done well.

Strictly won’t buffer or download and it’s doing my head in. Movie week it my favourite week!

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