I finally got around to uploading the remaining pictures of Laos to Flickr. There are still several hundred on the hard drive waiting to be sorted out but I thought I'd share a few here before I get back to the business of everyday life in Vietnam.
Food and Food related stuff
Woven baskets for holding sticky rice, eaten with your fingers and served at most meals. It's the most substantial rice I've eaten.
Collecting and processing water weed, it looks like the same bright green, fibrous stuff you see growing in rivers all over the place, I didn't know it was edible but it's sold in hanks in markets in Laos. It's deep fried before eating and the younger stuff is considered better because it's less tough.
Noodle soup, part of the package on the VIP bus from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. Beer Laos not included in price.
It was orange season and the air by the river smelled wonderful, even at night when the oranges were all away.
Tuk tuks and similar vehicles are the main form of in town transport, there's a good bus network for going further afield. Tuk tuks are cool during the day, chilly at night and dusty whenever you get out of town but they're much more interesting to ride than taxis. This was taken on New Years Day in Luang Prabang, called International New Year, Laos has it's own, Tet is celebrated by many and the ethnic minorities have their own New Year too, good place to go if you like fresh starts.
Sorry about the lamp post in the foreground but I coudn't get a better angle. This is King Of Bus, the VIP bus from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. There are two a day and for $6 you get air conditioning, pretty good suspension, endless Lao Pop videos, water, a wet wipe, a cake and lunch. You also see some of the world's most stunning mountain scenery. I couldn't get any pictures of it because we didn't stop going through the mountains and my camera's anti shake just wasn't up to coping with it.
We were dreading a nine hour bus journey and wishing we'd got better organised to fly back down to Vientiane but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.
Lots of Vespas and Piaggios around Laos, most in excellent condition. The country is landlocked so there's very little salt in the air hence little rust. I loved this one with a sidecar but couldn't imagine sitting in it in HCMC.
Stephen takes the lead while taking elephants down for a bath in the river. I'm at the back right stepping out of line on the biggest elephant of them all. They were incredible creatures and while we didn't get anywhere near controlling them they and the mahouts were very indulgent and let us believe we were in charge.
We spent the night in a little hut on stilts and at dawn took ourselves and the elephants for a morning bath, then we got to take off the silly mahout suits.
We flew Air Loas to Luang Prabang in a plane I've never heard of with the most garish upholstery and seats that flipped forward to let people in and out. This picture makes domestic departures look quite swish, it's not but it's efficient and got us where we were going.
Finally some random images of things I saw and liked.
Tad Sae Waterfall
Images of Buddha
If you get a chance, go.