Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Last of Laos

My two week Lao visa expired, and I got out just in time feeling like I would as well. Not so bad like that, but it was this trip's first serious case of la duzi (worst since India).

First off, this picture is for those parents who have discovered that their children, recently returned from Asia - innocence lost - have converted to vegetarianism. I hope this gives you some insight as to why they did something like that without telling you.

Here is a pic of Lao looking it's best. A small village on a misty early morning high in the mountains near Kasi.

And here, not five km down the road, is Lao looking it's worst. Now I don't want to get into a discussion concerning slash and burn farming (whether or not one has any right to inflict modern environmental values on hill tribe cultures who have been doing this type of thing for thousands of years), but I have to wonder what this guy thought when he looked out from his door the morning after he burned off this hill side.

River side village.

These are backpackers. This is what backpackers do. THE waterfall near Laung Prabang. A nice one.

Early morning on the Mekong. After being held up in Laung Prabang for far too long, we found we didn't have time to cycle out of Lao as planned. The only option was a two day (ten hours each!) ferry up the river to the Thai border.

Now in Chiang Mai, second or third biggest city in Thailand I think (though at 700,000 it pales to Bangkok's 8 or 9 million). An allright place to spend a few days eating excellent food and relaxing while we wait for our visas for China. The best we could get out of them was a double entry 3 month visa. As I understand it, this means I can stay for 3 months, and then I have to leave... but then I can just turn around and go right back in for another 3 months.

We left our bikes up in Chiang Saen - staging point for the aforementioned barge to YunNan. Two days ago there were at least five barges being loaded for the return trip, and hopefully there will be a few new ones by the time we get back. Chiang Saen is a port town in the golden triangle, the point where Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand's borders come together, and where an awful lot of opium used to be grown. We will return in a few days with those visas and arrange passage for the three day trip; again along the Mekong, where it forms the border between Myanmar and Laos.

In other news, following a vision involving a pigeon that I had during my ten day meditation
, my lost camera has been located.

Next posting will be from somewhere in southwest China I guess.


Anonymous said...

Eww is that a baby bird?

Aaron Franz said...

No... I'd say it was the head and feet of a full grown chicken (roasted to perfection).

Anonymous said...

Why just the head and feet? I'm very confused, but being a vegetarian I guess those things shouldn't make sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Who cares obout the meat- I am glad/ suprized you found your camera, vision and all.