Luang Prabang 0205 01
Why have i taken this photo? Anyway, its a tomb which was only recently discovered of some French Dude. Why are we here again?
Luang Prabang 3rd May 2008
Hurrraaaaaayyyyyy! First okay night sleep in 4 nights i think. No waking up in a pool of water! Definitetly taken another step up on the road to recovery!
Went for a quick breaky at Martins PLace (Like an English style pub). Had a few meals from here recently as it was very close & convienient so not far to drag my weary body when i had managed to get myself out of warm cosy bed.
I got picked up around 9.15 for the elephant trecking tour. In my group was a English couple from Hazel Grove (nr stockport Manchester) and also an English family with 2 young girls that were now living in Vietnam - she originally come from London and him from Yorkshire. An all English bus!
On route to the elephants, we called off at this small town where there was a weaving factory where we could have a look around. It was actually interesting for the first 2 minutes then actually not. The guide then tried persuading us to go across the road to a silver shop but I and everyone didn't want any silver and wasn't interested so
Luang Prabang 0205 02
Guy fishing for his lost Motorcycle - either that or these loas fish can get a bit nasty!
none of us went - this stop was obviously one of these planned things (kind of a scam) where they encourage & hope the tourist will buy some crap and part with some of their money and the guide then gets a bit of commission (probably). We all just walked back to the van after about 5 minutes, I think he got the hint we wanted to move on and get to the elephants and not walk around some pointless silver store.
After about 30 minutes we arrived at some place in the middle of the jungle. We're here i thought. We all got out and followed a guide down this steep hill along the river banks thinking we were going to the elephants. We then walked up this steep hill into the forest - by this point i was sweating my tits off and over heating as it was a very hot day. We got to the top and were greeted with this old, scruffy looking, white tomb of some totally uninteresting and irrelevant French guy. I'm thinking like, why the hell are we here looking at this grave in the middle of the jungle, hot and drenched
My Elephant having a break and a munch.
in sweat?" For some strange reason i took a picture, must have been through politeness and to seam interested lol. From there we headed straight back along the route we came back to the van and off we went again. What a pointless exercise.
We arrived at the Elephant trecking center soon after, by this point I was lets say slight ly frustrated by all the larking about & was itching to get on with things and set off into the jungle. Guess what, break time the guide says. "But i don't want a break, I don't want a drink!!!!", "I want to go on an elephant!!!", you know thats what i paid $50 for, not to have a nother break and bottle of water! It was now gone 11am so we had spent the last 2 hours doing next to nothing, especially not what we'd paid for. However all this P'ing about is something i have come accustomed to, it's the same in Thailand when you go on a tour. There so disorganized, you spend 1/2 the day standing around doing nothing or moving from 1 vehicle to another.
Eventually we got called to the elephants, there
luang Prabang 0205 03
Me and Nele on the river
was this big female having something to eat. Straight away i thought i want her (for you strange dirty minded people...I don't mean like that lol). The rest of the group were in couples which meant i got a elephant all to myself. I requested that i get the big one which i did. I started the trek like everyone else sat on the bench that is fastened to the elephant. The ride isn't very comfy, it's a bit like a camel - very rocky and jerky and your bum soon starts aching. I was amazed though how elephants walk up and down steep embankments - at first i was certain the elephant was going to fall over or slip and I was going to get crushed to death, but she didn't, they don't even remotely slip - not even in mud or water. After about of 10minutes treking through the jungle the guide who was kneeling on the back of the elephants head / neck got up and motioned that we swap places. Of course i wasn't going to refuse that. I gingerly swapped places and took my position on the elephant neck. At first its really scary as
Luang Prabang 0205 04
Treking in the jungle
your pretty high up and rocky so balancing is a bit tricky, especially when your going up and down steep hills as you have to balance your body & you nothing to hold on too. You look down and see all these rocks and think SHIT, what will happen it i fall off from this high on those rocks. However apart from the elephant hair, which is like a wire brush, I soon got really comfortable and confidence grew and soon I was loving it - felt like the big daddy of the jungle.
The best part was when we went into the river with the elephants. The elephants obviously loved the cool water and appreciated the drink. I had a few nervy moments - My Elephant kept putting her trunk right up to me full of water, she obviously wanted to cool off / clean her back. I feared and had visions of her shooting all this water at me and me flying off her neck and into the river. The guide had to keep shouting at her so she wouldn't do it. Luckily for my sake, she listened!
The trek lasted 1 1/2 hours and that
Luang Prabang 0205 05
King of the jungle - me looking / trying to look cool...who's the Daddy?
was long enough cos like i said earlier - it's not the most comfy mode of transport. When we got back i treated and fed my elephant to a big bunch of banana's.
After more messing about by the guide company, more waiting around, more vehicle swapping we headed off to the waterfall (Kuang Si falls). The waterfall was awesome and beautiful. The main waterfall upstream was a 2 tier fall each tier about 50 meters and each tier had a big turquoise watered pool a the bottom. Further down stream there were multiple falls and swimming water holes. The water, the environment, the surrounding foliage was so beautiful- All very picturesque. I went for a swim in one of the pools and banged my sore foot...needless to say it really bloody hurt and the relevant vocabulary shouted out in my mind but luckily muffled out of my mouth! The only downside was the popularity. It was just too busy and too noisy. Guess you can't have everything can you?
From there we headed back towards home. There was a quick call off to a small mountain village. At this point i started to flag a little, i
Luang Prabang 0205 06
Feeding Nele some well deserved bananas
guess I'd over done it on my first day out, after been ill. Again the village was just set up for tourists to walk around and part with there money. Kid after kid, some with babies hanging onto their backs (all part of the guilt trip) would come over trying to sell something all pleading and asking ever so sweetly. After a good day i ended it feeling pretty down and guilty for not buying anything. However cos i took some photo's i gave one of the kids a few thousand KIP (50 cents).
When I arrived back in town one of my first priorities was food. Went back to the "Loas loas" bar where I'd already had a few fantastic meals, the hospitality was really good and friendly and also it was good cos it was right opposite my guest house. I had deep fried chicken strips with dipping sauce for starters, however it was that big it could be a starter for 3 people or a main course. For main course I had loas style sausages with chips. The sausages were amazing and even the chips were good. Who says only the English can make chips?
That night I gave it the Zzzzzz's pretty early as it had been an exhausting day swimming in those beautiful waterfall pools, riding an elephant through the jungle and river and also eating that delicious food...O and i was up at 6:30 the next morning as moving on back to Thailand tomorrow.
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