May 14, 2004

Goodbye Laos, Hello Chaing Mai (Thailand)

Today we flew from Luang Prabang back to Thailand, this time in the Northern section of the country. In keeping with blog tradition, our likes / dislikes list is as follows:

Things The Two "Falangs" Found Endearing About Laos:

1. The People. Laos easily had the friendliest, warmest and most genuine folks we've found in SE Asia.
2. The Landscape. Even thought it's landlocked, even beach-worshipper Janet agrees that the Laotian mountains, rivers and forested nether regions were breathtaking.
3. The kids. Some of the cutest gosh darn children we've met / seen.
4. Forgiving Nature of the Peeps. In spite of all the B.S. these peoples have put up with from the U.S., France, China, Vietnam, etc. they don't seem to have a resentful bone in their bodies.
6. "Cheap Cheap". Man, Laos is cheap, even by SE Asia standards. Our average room price was $4 US / night.
7. Lao Hai. The fermented rice beverage was pretty tasty, very unique and did not cause the kind of hangovers Lao Lao did.
8. Long, incredibly narrow boats. They were endearing inspite of yours truly having to double over to manuever on one.
9. Laos Diversity. Laos features a number of cultures, from a number of Hill Tribes to Chinese immigrants.
10. Beer Laos. Surprisingly light and crisp and is to blame for putting whatever pounds I lost in Thailand back on.

Stuff falling somewhere on the quirky > annoying > disturbing scale:

1. Drinking from plastic bags & straws. Janet found it endearing, I just found it weird.
2. Uniformity of staircases. (Or rather lack thereof). Even step to step you had to watch your footing. Makes things especially difficult when you are 5 feet tall :-)
3. Spitting. Hocking a lugee was not uncommon, be it man woman or child. My theory is that it's more prevelant in the North due to Chinese influence.
4. Wads & Wads of Bills. The exchange rate when we left was 10,500 Kip to the dollar. While it was nice to change $100 US and suddenly become a Laos millionaire, the amusement quickly wore off.
5. Child Labor. We've seen kids at work in other SE Asian counties, but Laos seemed particularly prone...
6. The Taste of Lao Lao. Laos' national rice whiskey is akin to nail polish remover.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?