Thursday, February 22, 2007

Time flyes when you're in Loas

First of all I must send out a Happy 11th Birthday to my eldest Niece Kennadee. I'm so sorry I am a few days late :(

These kisses are for you

Covered In Kisses

I've spent the last 10 days travelling through Laos and am now in Hanoi, Vietnam. There is the craziest intersection here, I'm trying to find if it has a web cam on it cause you have to see the chaos. I think the cross streets are Le Thai To and Hang Dao, but I'll have to do some more research on that one.

My last 2 days in Thailand were spent on a 'Trekking' tour hiking to a mountain village in northern Chang Mai.
On the way to the village we stopped for a 2 hour elephant ride. It was a lot like the horse rides at home, except the elephants did not follow each other as well. Our elephant kept wondering off to eat trees, and I mean trees, he'd start pulling the whole thing over until someone ran up to stop him. This is the German guy I was paired up with. I've learnt my lesson to always ask how old the people who've already signed up are. During my trek I was the youngest person by about 20 years :) It was annoying because they complained about everything, but they made me laugh too, like when this guy turned to me after the photo and said "its like our honeymoon photo!"... I wonder if I can crop him out?'...

After the elephant ride we hiked for about 2 hours. The temp was 35 degrees so I wasn't about to complain about the temperature of the waterfall we stopped at. It was freezing by the way :P

The thing the other travellers complained the most about was our accommodations. Fortunately for me I've been sleeping on rock-hard $3/night hostel beds so I was prepared for 'Hotel California'.

Once we were settled in our guide took us for a short walk to tell us about the history of the village ( I don't know how to write the name of it cause I only have it in Thai) during the walk he gathered some grub, which he later gave to a family we passed and they ate it. I was hoping he'd bring it back for us to try, that'd been a good story.

There was no electricity so we started a campfire. I impressed all the German travellers with my fire-building skills but quickly used up all the wood we'd gathered; the guide solved this problem by showing me a house that was being demolished and told me to use the wood off of it.

The trek ended on Feb 13, and with my visa expiring in less than 24 hours I headed for Laos.

I left Thailand on Feb 14 and travelled by slow boat (appropriately named, maybe the most boring/cramped experience thus far) for 2 days and arrived in Luang Prabang. I met so many people who are going the exact same route as I am and am now travelling with Katy from London. We stayed in Luang Prabang for 3 days, hit the night market and went to an amazing waterfall.

The money in Laos is Kip, the exchange is 7,700 Kip/$1 Can. This is me holding 1,000,000 Kip.

I didn't know this before, but because monks do not work they rely on the public to provide them with food. Every morning at sunrise they walk the street and people put rice in there pots. This is called Oms (I think)

After a few days I headed south for Vangviang, the tourist attraction there is a river that has innertubes you can rent and multiple bars lining the banks of the river. Each bar is in competition to have the largest rope swing, at first I was too nervous and too aware of the dangers to try, but after a little liquid courage I was swinging off the highest one. Didn't bring the camera with me for that one, planned to do it again the next day but for some strange reason I was very ill during the night and slept most of the following 2 days. Luckily I was sick in a town that is obsessed with movies and 'Friends' reruns; every restaurant you enter is a giant living room with all the tables and chairs pointing at various TVs. I hadn't watched TV since I left, so I watched 3 movies in a row.
Sunset in Vangviang

I left Vangviang and bused to Vientiane. I've been travelling everywhere by either bus or boat and after the trip to Vientiane I was tired of the nail-biting trips and decided to just fly to Hanoi.
This is the plain Fokker 70

I was planning on calling Hanoi home for a week, but the lady at the hostel I'm staying in says that I need only 3 days and then I will be bored, so it looks like I'm gone again to 3 days :)

I can't believe how quickly time is going, I'll be back in less than 4 months!!!

Kennadee, I love you and I hope you had an amazing birthday!


Dad said...


frickin freezin said...

honeymoon photo! bahaha...soo funny. Those maggots are disgusting. Ash came home today for a visit! We might go surfing but since New Years I am thinkin a winter sport would be a better idea. Oh, you are soo warm right now and I am so not.

Moo said...

Hey Kari!!

I've finally tracked you down. I tried to email you thru poole_girl but I guess you don't use that anymore. So I went through all your old emails from like 4 years ago and found veronica, emailed her to get to you :)
I'm happy to hear you're doing well. Your pictures are great and your adventures sound amazing. You look so Happy :D

Can't wait til your next update.
Luv you lots!

Janice said...

I absolutely loved "Hotel California". I hope Darrell and I can find as plush accommodations in Europe in the spring!

Anonymous said...

Oh man, you look so tanned and happy! I wish I was there, Thailand seems like the kind of place that makes a person in instantly relax. Unless your on a boat ride of some sort : )
I am back in town for two weeks to see people. Weird to be out of London. Already hung out with Dean ; )
Love ya, miss ya, can't wait to see you in London.