I write this to you from a quaint guest house, about ~50 meters from the Mekong. A day or so ago I had the great pleasure of going fishing with some guys who live around here. The deal was this, I buy a 24 of beer and they take care of the rest. Sounded like a good deal to me, it most certainly was.
We left the guest house / tourist area and ventured off the beaten path. Picked up a 24 of beer, some fishing line. Went to a gents house and got some rods before going to the Mekong and digging our own worms. The crew was myself, a guy my age and one his friends.
After getting the worms, we went to this fish farm that is owned by a friend of one of the guys where most of the fish you buy in the market comes from. Granted fishing in a fish farm isn’t that tough but it’s fun. Especially when you eat them as you catch them. We eat about 2 kilos of fish and brought back another 2 kilos. Typically they sell 20,000kip for 1 fish, not bad!? When we came back one of the gents wives cooked us Tom Yum Fish or something like that, it was delicious.
The fish farm was a series of ponds with different types of fish. This was one of the more “off the beaten path” experiences I’ve had and arguably one of the best days of the trip. We just hung out for hours on this farm with the owners just chilling, chatting and enjoying life. The place had so many critters running around as well. Dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, chickens, chicks, ducks and more. Also had a “crazy” dog attached on a short chain. Supposedly the owner and his wife are the only people it won’t bite. They let it off the chain each night and it “runs game”. Nobody will try and steal fish because “Crazy Carl” will be there and he doesn’t bark, just goes in for it.
I made a video compilation in that “new style” I’m trying to that I’ll mashup and upload when I’m in a major city. The internet connection here is sketchy at best and frankly, I have better things to do.
The other night I hit up basically the whole club area and MORE. The night clubs here are out of this world regarding setting / style, just not that packed. The bowling alley is the only place that serves liquor late night so most travelers end up there at some point. I went, it was fun, won’t be back though.
Luang Prabang is very relaxed and the majority of the travelers here are French. You can also really see the French influence on the builings and cuisine here. This place also has some out of this world restaurants on the Mekong. I’m talking places you’d pay ~$100US for a meal for two but you can get it for ~$8-$16. Also a plethora of selections at the night market.
The people here are very nice and unfortunately this place is quite poor. You hear horror stories of mainly French and British travelers staying 3-5 nights then leaving at 4am, leaving the staff to carry the bill. That bill is usually more than half their monthly salary and they work 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They go to bed last and wake up first sleeping near the door in case a traveler comes home late, past curfew.
I did my best to give them an idea of how business is done in the west and made them promise me that they’d make people pay daily, if they want 3-5 days + at a discount, fine but have them pay up front. It’s also often long haired hippies and shockingly middle aged couples(mainly French) that are the biggest culprits. They told me they have never heard of a Canadian doing something like this, of course not, it’s shameful and down right pathetic. Also if you are at a really nice restaurant, leave a small tip. I did and the guy came up to me afterward shaking my hand and thanking me, I didn’t know why then he said the money with a smile.
What is most unique about Laos is the scenery, it’s breath taking really. The endless unspoiled terrain is something I’ve never seen before. Also, I would recommend this town to retirees looking for a great experience. Since there is a curfew and many other laws, it’s quite safe here. Also Luang Prabang is the most touristy area in all of Laos, plenty to do, places to eat and places to stay for all budgets. You can get a dorm room for ~30,000kip a night and a single or double room for ~70,000-130,000 kip. Also hotels that are ~300,000kip+. I will note, that my 70,000kip a night room has a bed like back home, it’s quite nice.
Today, I will hang out, sample some local cuisine and I plan on leaving tomorrow, perhaps. Then again this is me we’re talking about so who knows really?