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Published: November 20th 2017
Yesterday was a fun day with all sorts of activities at the Bamboo Centre to show the many ways bamboo is used in Laotian culture. We got a few tips for what we could do with the bamboo hedge at the beach!
Traditional houses have walls of woven bamboo. It’s incredible how finely it can be cut into strips with a machete. We had a go at weaving a coaster but drew the line at a frog which was much more complicated.
We failed at walking, let alone running and galloping, on bamboo stilts which are used to walk with during the wet season.
The best part was the cooking class where we made fish steamed in banana leaves and bamboo shoots stuffed with minced pork. Both were mixed with herbs and spices such as such kaffir lime leaves, chillies, dill, garlic, coriander, spring onions etc. First though, we had to help prepare the sticky rice by pounding it to loosen the husks. I thought winnowing would easy but it wasn’t. I ended up with more rice on the ground than husks. I couldn’t quite get the right movement. Ian was better. The rice is soaked for a
minimum of three hours, then put into a woven bamboo steamer which sits over a pot with water, in turn over a charcoal fire. Sticky rice is the one that you roll into balls and eat with your fingers.
The whole meal was delicious. More so than our usual lunch of toasted sandwiches.
We felt a bit guilty because over the fence was an entire Hmong family cutting and threshing their rice by hand. They did stop at midday in the heat.
The swim in the pools below the Kuand Si waterfalls was most welcome to freshen up. We nearly chickened out as there were so many people and it looked a bit tricky in places but we found a calm pool and took the plunge. The whole system is beautiful its jungle setting, with high falls flowing into a series of smaller ones cascading down Into shallow turquoise pools.
On the way we passed a bear sanctuary run by an Australian woman. The bears have been rescued from the illegal trade in wildlife. On their chest is a V of white fur making them Moon bears. I tried to get a photo but surprisingly they
wouldn’t stay still as, like all youngsters, they were fighting or playing chasey.
Back to Luang Prabang we wandered around enjoying the atmosphere, the warmth, and the well preserved French Colonial buildings. No wonder it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of them are guest houses lining the banks of the Mekong.
Needless to say dinner was a glass of wine and a salad.
We’re now waiting for our flight to Singapore where we overnight to catch the 9am one to NZ on Tuesday. Hope To catch up with you all soon.
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