sunshine and street food

Formerly about my Peace Corps China days. Currently, haphazard accounts of backpacking SE Asia.

Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom complex. Siem Reap, Cambodia. I have no words.

Vang Vieng, Laos held bike rides to a giant cave, tubing down the river, watching Friends and eating delicious Laab.

Luang Prabang day 2:

Cave temple
Monsoon on the Mekong
Terraced waterfall

Our first day trip in Luang Prabang was to the Kuang Si Waterfall. We took an hour tuk tuk ride to the site, and a passing Irish guy spontaneously joined us.

We took a steep climb to the top of the waterfall where wed heard we could go swimming. We were met by a group of young Monks bathing and swimming in full orange garb. On the return hike, we witnessed them doing backflips into a smaller pool.

Also, there was a cute sun bear sanctuary.

After a delicious lunch of grilled fish, Laab and a pineapple smoothie, we returned to town where we met up with our friends and went to the open market.

We took a two day slow boat from Chiang Kong, Thailand to Luang Prabang, Laos. It was stunning. So stunning that I only snapped one quick photo in the beginning, as seen above. My traveling companions took plenty, however. I couldn’t be bothered.

Both days were about eight hours spent on the water. In between, we stayed on Pak Beng where we indulged in our first Lao dish, Laab. I have eaten it atleast once a day, every day since. It is a minced meat dish ( in my case, tofu or fish) with chilis, mint, and is otherwise indescribable. As I write this, it is our last night in Laos and we will depart to Cambodia in the morning. This means I’ve already eaten my last Laab and am crying all over the screen.

Anyway, on the boat we made a group of four other traveling companions. In the second photo is our friend from Argentina with the four of us. ( i stole this photo from him) We also adventured with a German, Australian and English backpacker. We didn’t know it at the time, but wed travel for over a week with this group, whose weirdness was only matched by our own.

We talked, played games, laughed so hard we cried, oohed, aaahhed, introduced weird American food to our friends (carrots with peanut butter! So delicious), and tried to sleep in awkward positions. And everyone but me took photos.

Wat Rong Kuhn - The White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

It feels a bit like Disney world as you approach this roadside temple. There are grotesque heads hanging from trees, the predator (from Alien vs. Predator) is emerging from the soil.

As you enter, shoeless and covered, as you must be for any proper temple, you quickly realize this one is different. First, you notice a traditional golden Buddha at the back, with visiting Buddhists stopping to pray. As you look closer, you will see apocalyptic paintings depicting Neo from The Matrix, Mickey Mouse, Michael Jackson, and many other charactures from Pop Culture. The paintings are immaculate, the images clear. They blend from science fiction near the door to the sublime near the Buddha.

If you’re into checking it out, here is an article with more photos:

Pai, Thailand.

A few stolen photos from friends. Railay/Tonsai.

Piman Pu Villa, Koh Jum, Thailand.

Piman Pu Villa, Koh Jum, Thailand.