(Conversation Between SJ and Zing on Msn)
SJ: I wanna pass you something.
Zing (in Singapore): what is that? a Pink Cake? or Potato Chips?
I’m surprised that my ex secondary friend still can remember the pink cake and potato chips :”) 1997, I was picking up cooking and i was always proud to bring my experiments to school. Zing used to sit right beside me and she always had the honour to be the first one to try my experiments. I still remember Jamie gave me the Potato Chips receipe and I brought the experiment to school. It was Black, and not so crispy. It was black not because it was overcooked, but it was oxidized. Jamie said the taste was there, but just the look was out of the way. Lim Poh wrote a comment on my autograph “I will always remember the Black black thing that you brought to school”.
I remember I made the Pink cake but i could’t remember i brought it to school. I decided to share the story about the pink cake here, because its one of the naive things i did during my school days.
I used to read a lot of Slam Dunk and that made me attracted to guys who are tall and play basketball. There was this guy who was tall and slim (“was” because the last time i saw him he was not slim anymore), with long hair and played basketball in our school almost every afternoon. I was attracted to him one afternoon when he was playing basketball with naked upperbody and a short and tight boxer-like pants. I believe I wasn’t the only gal who was staring at him. He said Hi to me one day, we talked, then we became Friends and hanged out together few times in some occassions.
It was the Mooncake festival of 1997, we went to the temple together. I rushed home early that day, and made a pink cake of a shape and size of a mooncake for him. I believe i also brought some of the other shapes to school the next day. and tat’s the Pink cake that Zing was refering to. Actually I’m happy that she still remember what i did 11 yrs ago 😛
After the Mooncake Festival, he went back to UK for his studies.. and that ended my Basketball player Fantasy!!
We bought the 8:30am VIP Bus ticket to Vientiane a day earlier. I woke up at 7am that morning (seriously i haven’t been like me when i was in Laos, i wake up real early everyday) The same friendly attendant/waiter attended to us when we checking out again. I really like him and we tipped him and i told him “You are very nice”. While walking to Scanidavian Bakery, I was telling myself that I will miss this morning walk to Breakfast in Luangprabang. It was really peaceful and the weather was great! and couldn’t wait to have breakfast every morning. We were approached by a tuk tuk driver, but we rejected him. He still followed us all the way to Scanidavian and he told us he will wait for us til we finish our breakfast.
It took us about 4 minutes walk to Scanidavian Bakery. I read about Scanidavian from travel blogs and i was told it can’t be missed. We were not sure what to order, so we both ordered croissants. Mine is Chocolate Croissants and Ken had Ham in Croissants. I think it was really good!! ( i bought another chocolate croissants in KL Airport after a few days, and i tell u the the Croissant in KL Airport is really Sux!) I suppose Scanidavian is a german bakery as it has logo of a pretzel and it also has outlets worldwide. While Louis was out for photo shooting, there was this boy who approached everyone in the bakery to buy his bracelets, but me. I suppose he thought I’m a local. When Louis was back, We were then approached by another Lao Gal. (Does that mean i really look like Lao? or look like Local Companion)
I found this lao gal who approached us very sweet, nice and polite. I spent sometime picking the bracelet and asked for some discount. I really like her so i didn’t ask for much discount. We ended up buying 6 bracelet at 60 000kip (about USD7). I gave her a small notebook with a pen which i brought from Brunei. Soon after she left, a little lao boy came. He asked us how much we got for our bracelet and offered 3 for 10 000kip!! i was totally ripped off by the gal! haha.. So we bought more from him, but i only left goodies for the gals, so i didn’t give anything to this nice boy.
We finished our breakfast at 8:10 am then get into the tuktuk, he waited 30mins and we still asked for discount from him. We gave him USD 2 to him. While leaving the town of Luang Prabang, I knew i will miss this place.
The VIP Bus is a big Yellow Bus, is really big and high up, with Toilet in it. However the toilet room is small and ceiling is really low. When i went in, my head can touched the ceiling. and While the bus is moving, the water in the toilet bowl might wave up and wet you. So i only went in once and i found it real disgusting. Our allocated seat was just right in front of the staircase to the toilet and a tv, and we can rest our feet on to the grip of the staircase. Throughout the bus ride, i have slight car sick, but it was alright, and i would say its comfortable, really worth paying extra for that. They played a Lao Funny show once at the beginning of the ride. The bus conductor first gave each of us a Bun, then followed with a Plastic bag. I suppose the bag is for us to puke or throw rubbish. But when Louis asked him what’s the bag for, the Bus Conductor said is “CONDOM”. haha… Very good PR Skill. During the ride, we saw some nice scenery, rainbow, and a well which reminds me of Plain of Jars. At 1:30, we stopped at Kasi for Lunch. We were served with Mixed RIce (Chak Fan), but when it was my turn all the dishes were gone, so i picked soup noodles. Louis’s Mixed Rice was nice, wondering how come we didn’t get to eat such local lao food in restaurant. The bus stopped at Vang Vieng after 5 Hrs. Some ppl got down and some new ppl came in to the bus. I miss Vang Vieng too!
We finally arrived at Vientiane at 6pm. the feeling was great and we were back to the first Bus Station when we were leaving to Vang Vieng, the very first place we visited in Laos. We were approached by a Tuk Tuk man to drive us to the Central or Guest House. His tuk tuk was already full, so we got into the front passenger seat. and paid 10 000kip per person. We waited quite sometimes b4 he started the ride, it was so packed at the back. We finally see the City of VIentiane, then we stopped at Intercity hotel which is beside the Mekong RIver. We waited for very long time, duno waiting for what. I was about to get down and walk to our guest house as i roughly know where it is. But the driver got back to the tuk tuk when i was about to leave.
We arrived at Saysouly at 7pm. Saysouly Guesthouse (sounds like Say Sorry) is a very big house with 20 over rooms. It cost us USD13 for a aircon ensuite. Our room is on the 1st floor and we had to pass by the shared bathrooms to get to the staircase. Its normally wet outside the bathrooms, we tried to walk as fast as we could to pass by the bathrooms. The room is full of mosquitos and the bathroom wasn’t clean. After dropping our luggage, we went out for dinner. I told the macho receptionist that the room is full of mosquitos and he promised me that he will spray later.
Our GUesthouse is just a minute walk from Mekong RIver. We walked along the shops along the Mekong River then hunting for a restaurant along the river to settle down. We found one with a macho waiter at about 8pm. I ordered tomyam soup with fish, GreenCurry with Mixed Vege, 2 Prawns. There were ladies approaching us to buy their sotong bakar and also children begging for money. I didn’t see any Beggers throughout the whole trip til i reached vientiane. After our dinner, We saw Gabriel and Ah Man!! They were so surprise to see us too! we joined their table and had a long chat. Gabriel and Ah man are the UK + Thai Couple we were in the same tourgroup in VangVieng. Ah man showed us the China phone he bought from the Morning market and recommended us to visit the next day. She told us thailand is just within our sight across the river. Yes.. we could see Thailand! They also told us its been raining after the day we left Vangvieng and the water turns Brown, and a lot of unidentified insects flying around and biting their eye lid. I really felt so lucky that we left Vang Vieng Early.
We then went for Durian Hunt, It was 9:30! A tuk tuk who thought he can understand us brought us to the fountain area where Scanidavian Vientiane is. We told them we didn’t want food, we want Durian, then i drew him a durian, then only he brought us to somewhere near the morning market for Durian. The durians are all thailand durian, not Lao durian. We spent 30 000kip for that durian. Its nice! We then took the same tuk tuk back to the guesthouse, However we didn’t have enuf kip to pay him. So we went to the cyber cafe around for a short while then get the change and paid him.
I checked with the Macho Receptionist about the Monk’s alms. He said the Monks passed by the guest house at 5:30 am and his tip to me is “Must give to every monk” and its about 9 of them.
THe boat departing for Pakou is at 8am. we had Breakfast at a nice kopitiam after we booked our boat and van ride to Pakou and KuangSi Waterfall. It costs 100 000 kip for this full day ride.
the boat ride to Pakou via Mekong river wasn’t too good! it was good and excited at the beginning. but after 30mins, wah, really canot tahan liao.. its so slow!!! and this went on for another 1.5 hrs, then we stopped at the Whiskey Village, where they make their rice wine there. there was also a lot of stalls selling things we saw in the Hmong Market. Interesting enuf, we saw a young gal opening coconut with a parang. There is also a Wat in there and there are interesting statues in there.
We continued the boat ride and we arrived at Pakou – Tamting Cave. Its quite nice up there, you can see thousands of Buddha statues in there, which were brought into this cave earlier by Chinese. Some statues were brought in, some were made there. There is another cave up up higher. and we wish we had a torch light with us. We were too thrifty to rent a torch light, so we went into the cave, and couldn’t see anything. we use our camera to take shots so we know what is in front of us after previewing the picture after each shot. at the end, we saw some tourist with torch light and tour guide with them, we followed their back to explore and listen to the tour guide explanation. Other than buddha statues, you see kids selling birds and balloons to be free. DD thinks the birds and the vendors have a agreement, the vendors get the money and the birds get the food. after these birds are freed, they flew back to the vendors again. hehe… another 2.5 hrs back to the land, overall i think the visit doesn’t really worth the long boat ride. 😛
Back to the land, and dinner in Phousi GUest House restaurant. We had Meat Paradise, which is better known as Buffalo Bah Kua. its so hard!! and we had sticky rice, its harder than sticky. but at least the waiter is good and got free banana to eat!
Our Van ride to Kuangsi Waterfall departing at 2pm, the pickup point is at the travel agent. We bought a fresh orange juice from a pharmachy and the van was still not ready to go. At the end, the van started moving. It first stopped at a place along the mekong river, we pass our tickets to the conductor and waited for sometimes. Then the van drove us back to where the travel agent is, and pick up 2 more guys. then drove back to the mekong river there and passed the ticket to the conductor and waited again. finally we leaving for Kuangsi. when we arrived, it was already 2:50pm! and we have to get back to the van by 4:30pm.
When we arrived at Kuangsi, we first visited the Bear rescue center. ha.. two bears were mating. we spent couple of minutes checking out them mating. But the female bear seems like doesn’t want to do it. We then went to see Phet the Tiger, but he was out tat day!!! argh…
Soon we saw the first few pools of Kuangsi. is Crystal clear Blue!! i nvr see any waterfall with that charming color before. we moved up and up.. and to the great fall. As my eguides said swimming at the top of the fall is nice… so we climbed up to that area. the climb wasn’t too tough, wow.. then we saw a lot of ppl playing there, one guy was trying to swim towards the fall but couldn’t, cos the current was quite strong. the water was so cold, we change to our bathing suit and walk into the fall.. i love it there. its really cold but it was an excellent experience. We met Edwin from England there, and we had a great chat.
at about 4:10pm, we left the place and we saw the tree where ppl climbed up there and jumped into the pool. I told edwin that he jump, ken jump. so he did and he did and i did it too! i did it twice cos ken didn’t took the video of me jumping at the first jump.
We arrived at guest house at 5:45pm and we decided to see the view of Mekong river before sunset. It’s very beautiful!! we showered and went out for Dinner at LPB restaurant 7pm. We asked the waiter about a sound of an animal that we heard every night. Ken try to imitate the sound, and the waiter said is chicken. we were not quite convinced.
We were discussing about if we should go to Phonsavan for plain of jars the next day. We have our accomodation booked, but the problem we had is that the journey will takes 9 hrs… and after the visit, we have to take another 11 hrs bus back to vientiane. We discussed long and think over and over again.. and Our conclusion was GO!!!
*Yawn*.. its 9:45am, I missed the morning Alms… I haven’t been sleeping til this hr for the past 1 week. We suppose that with a packet of YiLi Milk, it can substain our energy to the Morning Market. We walked to the Morning market with the Map I printed in Brunei. Along the way, we met the Japanese couple who were on the same Bus with us the previous day. We greeted each other then we reached the Presidential Palace at about 10:15am. Presidential Palace is like the beautiful Mini White House, and the gate was wide opened. The garden looks good and i thought we are allow to walk in for a visit. So i walked in then the guard shouted at me. How was i suppose to know its prohibited if your gate is left open and you were not even standing beside the gate?? We then took pictures with some funny pose in front of the palace 😀
We then walked across the road and saw Wat Si Saket. Wat Si Saket is Reddish orange in color, i like this type of Wat. we proceed further, passed by the Post office and arrived at the Morning Market at 10:30. We bought a mix fruit shake from the first stall of the morning market. The Shake is very nice with Ciku fruit in it. There were few noodles shops but we decided to shop around first. First we were in the handicraft departments, then we were in the electronics dept. Like what Ah Man mentioned, there are a lot of China products there. not too sure about the price cos we didn’t have interest to buy any. Outside of the Market’s building, Its full of silver and goldsmiths. We spent sometimes watching how they made gold jewelleries. Saw them hitting, burning, twisting, squeezing, polishing the gold into jewelleries.
After the morning market, (We didn’t buy anything) we walked around the market with a packet of waffle balls from the same fruit shake stall. We saw messy wires hanging around the street. then we took a Tuk Tuk to Thatlung Wat. We were looking at the tuktuk’s fare, to the Buddha park cost 150K kip (return), to Thatlung was 30 000kip. is quite costly, cos it is not very far away. On the way to ThatLung, we passed by PatuyXai, the Victoria Monument. It looks very peaceful and grand.
Wat That Lung is about 8 mins tuktuk drive away from the Market. Wat ThatLung is very Beautiful, golden great stupa right at the middle. Pra That Laung is the most important national monument in Laos, a symbol of both the religion and Lao sovereignty. It built during King Sethhathirat era. Sitting is front of the That Laung is a status of King Setthathirat. It was about 11:10am when we arrive, and that place was freaking hot. I had to keep looking for a shade. We bought grill bananas b4 entering the Wat. We saw a circle of light around the Sun, I saw that before in Angkor 2 years back. We took a lot of great pictures there. Is beautiful. Entering into the Stupa cost another ?? kip.
After the visit, It was 12:10pm – Lunch Time! We had noodles again and ice cream outside Wat ThatLung. then took a tuk tuk back to the guest house. We then went to check out Lay’s Potato Chips at a convenient store (Riverside Mini Mart) around our guesthouse to bring back for souvenirs. The lay’s potato chips flavor are quite unique here. There are BBQ Squid, Beef Steak, and etc. After the survey at around 2pm, we went to the Massage shop beside it. Its Riverside Spa, very nicely decorated with free PC for Internet. It only cost USD 25 to stay there for one night inclusive of breakfast and discount on massage. Should had stay there cos is very beautiful inside. We are required to change to a very comfortable pj b4 the massage, the material is very nice! The full body 1 hr massage only cost USD5, cheap cheap. We massaged from 2 – 3 pm. Lao Massage use a lot of feet and knees. I kind of like it cos is oilfree and painful. Ouch!!
After the massage, we met Ah man outside! She was alone and we thought she *Angry Angry* with Gabrielle again! She told us that Gabrielle went for Dog Meat! ssshh…. we bought some lao beer and lay’s potato chips and packed nicely in a box. I left the box back in the guesthouse and rented a Bike for 10 000kip only! Yeah 10 000kip for 1 Day!! We can actually save a lot of money by doing so. But need to deposit USD 50 or our passport there.
We begun our bike ride at 3:30pm. We ride the Bike to Wat Si Saket. Wat Si Saket is also a museum with a lot of old old and broken buddha statues. its placed around the Chapel and some statues are badly broken that they just put it in a Storage area like this picture. The gallery is quite similar to what we saw in Wat Thad Lung, a lot of buddha statues around. I saw a baby stroller with a baby in it. I was expecting to see a local baby when i walked closer with my camera standing by. But it was a Orang Putih Baby! he was biting his toes, so cute! Wat Si Saket is the oldest Wat in Vientiane (1818) which still survived til today! Photos are not allowed in the Main Chapel. What i remember seeing was there were small compartments which can fit 3 buddha statues, and the compartments are all over the wall! They just celebrated its 190yrs old birthday on 3 of April.
I decided to use another way which passed by Wat Haw Phra Kaew and not the one we used to go to the Morning Market (beside Wat Si saket) Took a few picutes outside of Haw Phra, then we proceed to Patoxay (patuxai) the Victory Monument. The ride wasn’t hot and dusty, but i really enjoyed it 😛 We arrived at Patoxay at 4:40pm and it wasn’t too easy to cross the road to get in there. Patoxay is really nice, eventhough it is not painted, but i still think the architecture, the design, the decorations, the atmosphere was Wonderful!!! I love it. While i was cruising around, suddenly a guy said “Hey”, then i looked at him, the thai photographer i met at Wat Phousi of Luang Prabang! haha.. he took my pictures tat day, tats why i remember him!
I felt hungry then i found a stall which sell fried noodles somewhere near the last fountain. Its really convenient to have a bike, it took a minute to get there, if walk, have to walk v long! the Noodles are a bit like tanghoon, but is thicker. Its very sweet as well, even after we put chili sauce. We went to the fountain area and enjoy the romantic atmospher and the shade while eating the noodles. sekali, out of sudden, they played lao’s rock and roll song! u know the atmosphere i enjoyed disappeared immediately! After the food at 5pm, We were ready to climb up Patoxay,..but… ITs CLOSED!! Adui! Took me sometime to get the guy who works there to answer me what time it will open the next day. We took more pictures around then we left.
We took the way which wil pass by the Bowling. then we saw people selling the lottery tickets.. Louis stopped by and tried to understand how that works. we continued our Journey to the Mekong River.. the ride was pleasant (Dusty, windy, and along the way we saw a Immigration Office (Very small), Public Bank of Malaysia, some of the nice hotels of Vientiane. We stopped by at Chao Fa Ngum Statue, Is not a popular tourist spot, but i think this place is nice with big area for local to play some sports and a place for us to rest. This statue has another name – Power of One.
Pride in anyone language is big word. Building Chao Fa Ngum statue in Vientiane to honour the greatest Lanxang King is an excellent idea. It will sure lift up Lao spirit and PRIDE. This is a story of Chao FaNgum, the first king of LANXANG: Chao FaNgum was the grandson of Phraya Khamphong, the ruler of Meuang Sua (Luangprabang). Because it was reputed that he was born with 33 teeth ? an ominous sign for the throne, he was exiled from the land. By the way, one source said that his father, Phi Fa, committed adultery with his grandfather’s concubine, both the father and Chao FaNgum fell from the ruler’s favours and had to leave the country. fierce, elegant, power, ONE……
On this very last day in Laos, i was confidently to said “Sabaidee”, “Taodai?”, “Kop Cai lai Lai” and “xxx u sai”. Wanted to ask an uncle how to get to Mekong River, but he didn’t get me… argh… anyway, Louis’s sense of direction is good enuf to lead us there. Finally, We could see Mekong River, found a riverside restaurant with Steamboat BBQ. its similar to the restaurant we had bbq steamboat at Luang Prabang, but this is Openair. I suppose having BBQ Steamboat there is nicer and i do miss the very nice steamboat soup i had in Luang Prabang. But we were too tired to bbq steamboat at that time (6:30pm) . Hence we ordered Fried rice and Papaya Salad only. Thinking about it now, i m regret for not having bbq steamboat tat day 😦 It was the last dinner we had in Laos and beside Mekong River.. actually thinking about it, Out of the 7 dinners we had in Laos, 5 of them were along the Mekong River. I was staring at the pink Mekong river during the sunsetting moment, closed my eyes and feel the breeze… Will i be back here again?
Cycle back to the guesthouse and locked our bicycle properly and SHOWER!! wah.. I was so tan and i felt so oily, sticky and stinky. After shower, i watched “Tom and Jerry” in Lao. We then head out to do some last minute souvenir shopping along the FaNgum Road at about 8pm. I got some necklaces and a Beer Lao Sleeveless shirt. We also had ABC in a busy stall. THe ingredients of the ABC is quite special, never seen those before, even got bananas. The aunty can speak mandarin.
The last thing we did before we slept was counting the money we left and planned properly on how much to spend for the next morning. 50000kip for tuktuk to airport.. Breakfast… Ticket to enter Patoxay.. and how much left for last minute souvenir…11pm…zzzzz… Thats it for my last night in Laos
We woke up at 7am so that we can catch the 8:30am bus to Phonsavan after breakfast. Packed everything and said good bye to our host. She is a v nice lady with a broad smile always. I really like her and her cosy place. We got the lady who stay next to my room to help us to take a picture outside the guest house. She slipped and fell to the floor when she was walking out the gate due to slippery floor. Oouch.. our host rushed out and offer her to put on medication for her. I think she is really nice 🙂
We wanted to get our bus ticket from our usual travel agent. I stopped at a lao style street side noodle stall and ken went ahead to buy the ticket. I ordered a beef noodle soup and waiting for Ken to come back with the tickets. I waited for quite long and he finally back. and guess wat? “OUT OF TICKET!!” Alamak, we discussed for whole nite and the result is no more ticket to go Phonsavan. haha! and the travel agent is actually quite far away from the noodle soup stall, and he had to take tuk tuk back. hehe..
After our breakfast, we still not giving up to go phonsavan, We tried to get a private van or other option to go phonsavan. There were these 2 japanese gals saw us and asked if we met before. then they told me they saw us jumping up high when taking picture in vang Vieng. As we only jumped once, so i remember i saw 2 japanese gals resting at a bangalow while we were taking the jumping pictures. Tat’s quite funny! Louis actually can’t remember them, but i could. We talked for a while and told them we are going to Phonsavan, then we said goodbye.
We managed to find a public bus to phonsavan at 9am, but seriously, i was feeling very dizzy at that moment, i wasn’t walking straight at times. Knowing 8 hrs on a PUBLIC bus is not easy, with 2nd and 3 rd thought, we decided to drop phonsavan and stay in luang prabang for another day.
We then seek for another guesthouse, we checked out the rooms in Boungnasouk Guesthouse. we did that because i read good reviews about this guesthouse, and i called to book a room and i was told the rooms are full. But the room is not nice, pretty old and i don’t feel comfortable. So i didn’t take the room. There was another guesthouse which cost $45 which is not any figure within our budget. Then we decided to go to the Phousi guesthouse which we had lunch the day before. The friendly waiter was there and he showed us the room. The room is with fan, tv and fridge and cost $15 only. I like the room very much, is very comfortable. the only problem is that the guest house is under renovation, so is quite noisy when the men are at work. And fan rooms are at ground floor, and the curtain is transparent one, no idea if people outside can see what i do inside or not.
It was only 9:30am and is not check in time yet, so we left our backpacks there and went to the National Museum which is just right in front of the guesthouse. THe museum was full of tourists!! We paid x0000kip kept our bags in the locker and started to tour the museum. The museum used to be the Old King’s Palace. We can’t take any picture in there. According to other people’s guide, The King and Queen had their seperate room, there is also one playing room for their children and now it has become a room to display Laos’s traditional dance’s equipment like the musical instrument and masks. There were an area where there are 3 huge potraits of the King and QUeen. and according to other people’s guide, their eyes follow you wherever you go, which we found one of the portraits not so true. There is also an area where they display the gifts to the King from other Countries’ leaders.
Actually the intention of us visiting this museum is to see the Prabang. Prabang is a Golden Buddha statue which was given to Laos by Sri Lankan. Luang Prabang wasn’t called Luang Prabang before the arrival of Prabang. We were thinking how can we leave Luang Prabang without seeing this Prabang.
We then looked around the palace but we can’t see the Prabang. Checked with the receiptionist, then we only know it is not in the visit area which we paid for. Aiya, actually we don need to pay in order to see the Prabang. Anyway, at least we got free guides to tell us stories about the palace. The Prabang is actually a Copy of the real prabang. the Real Prabang is with USSR now because laos owe them money. I felt peaceful looking at the prabang, so i decided to sit down there and rest. In fact, i still felt dizzy.
We then walked to Wat beside the museum, this wat is actually nicely designed.. the whole building is Carved golden, the windows, the doors, inside too. We went in and is really cool and nice. I lied down and almost fell asleep. There is no buddha inside. Later i found out from the internet that the Prabang will be house here soon.
We then walked acrossed to a statue of the Previous King which is just right infront of the empty wat. We then walk closer and found a theatre in there and there was a show showing that nite at 6pm. We bought the cheapest and furthest ticket at USD8, then we signed the guestbook and left. It was 11am and it was time to check in to the Guest house. The room is nicely cleaned up… i laid down and straightaway fell asleep… zzz nice!
Slept for 3 hrs and woke up for lunch. It was about to rain and the nice waiter lend us 2 children size umbrella. we looked pretty funny with those umbrellas, but we still took it. It Rained as soon as we walked out from the guesthouse, so we had our lunch at Blue Lagoon Cafe which is right beside the GUesthouse. The waiters are nicely dressed and very polite too.. its quite a posh cafe to have lunch in an afternoon. They served us bread with garlic butter spread as appetizer then follow by our main course. We ordered local lao food which is a stew chicken and duno wat fish liao. I like my fish very much. Seriously, i don’t really like lao food.
The rain was over as soon as we done with our late lunch. We left our umbrellas in the cafe and started our Wats Explore Journey. Our Intention was to go to Wat Xienthong, but along the way, we saw a lot of wat. so we just dropped by in each wat, take a few pictures and move on. We passed by a primary school and it was their recess hour. It was just after the rain and the kids were playing with the muddy Water on the ground and there were also hawkers selling food. We first visited Wat Saen, Wat Saen also has some very detail drawings on the wall, ceiling and doors. We then visited 1 or 2 wats and reached Wat Xieng Thong at 3:30pm.
Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most important temples in the country of Laos. The word “wat” in Lao means temple, in this case, the Temple of the Golden City. Wat Xieng Thong is very old, built around 1560 by King Setthathirat. At first we were checking out the mosaic in color glass, then we realised there was actually a grand ceremony helding in the wat. The women went into the main chapel, and surround a monk who sat in the center. then they started to read prayers. Outside, there was a camp with a Buddha statue inside and a lot of people knee down. They then bath the buddha statue with water and wipe it clean. at the other side, there were people playing the big drum. At the other side, there are about 50 beds filled with a lot of household items like thermal glass, fan, blanket, container, toothbrush, mirror, and etc.
Everyone started to knee down and pray, i went into the crowd to join them. There was one lao lady who can speak mandarin told me to remove my shoes as is their traditions. I followed but after a while my knees and legs got painful then i decided to walk away and take some pictures. After a while i went back to ask the lady what were the beds for. She told me today is the Last day of the Buddhist New year and those beds were bought by the monks and claim the money later. Those who contributed to the daily household items will get a certificate. She also said that it was raining that day, the buddha was very happy. Before she finish telling me the story, Louis snatched my camera and everyone started to stand up and going after the buddha and so did the lady. they moving the buddha back to the small chapel. I was kind of worry that they will drop the buddha accidentally. They managed to place it into the chapel successfully and everyone started to cheer!
THe ceremony ended at 4:10pm and The crowd dismissed. We then walked around the main chapel and taking pictures for about 10 minutes. When we were about to leave, we saw a man swinging a buddha statue up high and down for few times. It looks pretty easy, so i went into the small chapel and intended to lift it up. But It is very heavy, and both of us couldn’t lift it up at all. We waited for a while til another man came to try, in fact i saw this man in the same place i had breakfast that morning. He managed to lift up halfway only.
The rain went a bit heavy, we had to stay under a tent for about 30minutes til the rain stopped. We suppose to pay 20 000kip to enter the Wat, but it was a special occasion, so we went in free! We left Wat Xien thong at 5pm and we have only one hour to shower before the 6pm show. But we took our sweet time walking back to the guesthouse. It was dizzling thru-out the way.
After shower, we arrived at the Royal theatre (which is right in front of our guesthouse) at 6pm sharp and i was wearing my new Lao pants. The theatre is quite old and the seats were really sinking in. Its not a grand theatre but somehow i like it, very original and authentic. The show started at about 6:15pm with a Welcome speech by a Lao. He speaks in both English and French, but we couldn’t understand him at all. After a slow welcome dance, then a man with green mask danced. His movement is very slow too, and at the background, there is a fake mountain with a Wat on it, and a Monitor Lizard on it. He danced for a while then the Monitor Lizard fell to the ground and the mountain became a bit slanted. And the Monitor Lizard produced the “Ah oh” sound, which is the sound we been hearing everyday from vang vieng to Luang Prabang, we’ve been wondering wat could it be, and we found the answer!
After the green man, then more dancers came out with a king and a queen. then the greenman came in and then the greenman went back to the mountain to adjust the mountain. I believe the story is about the greenman wanted to rescue the kingdom by killing a monster, however the mountain got slanted and it was very dangerous to the kingdom. So the King asked him to readjust the mountain. At that time, i turned to Louis, he was already asleep. Then there was this monkey dance by a few monkeys. They are quite good, although is still slow movement, but they manage to bring out the characteristic of a monkey. The last show is another slow dance with the queen in the center. Louis told me that the queen must had bribe the choreographer thats why she got the chance to dance at the center. The show ended at 8:20pm and we took some photos with the dancers.
We were not hungry yet so we went to the Hmong market to shop for souvenirs. I bought some tshirts and lao coffee. When we were about to leave, we bet the Phuket guy who was sitting beside me on the mini van. He asked us how come we were not in Phonsavan. We wanted to try the food of a restaurant which looks good and serve lao food. but it was full so we decided to go to the cyber cafe first. Right after the Cybercafe, we met the 2 japanese gals again, and they asked the same question as the Phuket guy. We went to to restaurant again, and we were told their kitchen is close.
We ended up eating at a restaurant along the Mekong River again at about 9:30. We had Steamed Fish on banana leaf, soup and Normal Rice. I decided to have a foot massage and Louis went to the Cybercafe to copy his DVD. The foot massage cost only USD4 for an hr! cheap cheap. But duno why the lao gal pour a lot of massage oil on my feet, i nvr seen my feet went so shiny b4. The massage finished at 11pm, and the street was very dark and i was a bit worry. Walked for a while and saw the Yellow Man! Its Louis! The guest house closed at 10:30pm, there was a guy waiting for us outside 🙂
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