So I forgot to tell you that the night before last some dutch guys offered me opium. Beware of the Dutch! hahaha (my dad is Dutch so I can say that). I regretfully turned it down but thanked them for the offer, haha!
Yesterday we started on the road bright and early. I love being able to see the country by road. You really get a feel of how people live and also get an amazing view of the country side. The downfall is definitely poor roads and in yesterday’s case, completely windy roads. Literally we were on the road for 8 hours. I’m not exaggerating when I say the road was literally winding on the edge of cliffs for 7 hours of it. Because of my weak stomach I wasn’t able to sleep and had to focus my attention on the road ahead the entire time. Basically we made our way through mountain ranges and it was incredible to see how the mountain people live. Their huts are propped up on the edge of the cliff (literally the edge), and a mere step away is the road that the big trucks drive on. If a car was to sway to one side the hut would fly off the cliff. The people are the most poor that I have seen. They have rags hanging off them and dirty little children running everywhere. Most don’t wear pants because it is far easier than affording diapers. At the side of the road you see the locals busy drying leaves and when they look up at you it is a bit heart wrenching. They know nothing more than what surrounds them and their lives are perched here over top of these beautiful valleys.
At one of the stops my eyes almost popped out of my head. Do you know how they put worms in tequila in Mexico? Well, here I have seen scorpions and snakes in alcohol…(those haven’t fazed me)…but high on this mountain truck stop I nearly shat my pants. Inside this jar with a spout and shot glasses beside were bears paws. Yes a bear in a jar. They kill the bear, eat the meat and pickle the freaking paws in a jar!!!!!!!! Bear in a jar…not my idea of yum.
Today we drove about a half hour out of Luong Prabang to this jungle area. Here we came across a bear sanctuary. They rescued the bears from people who use them for medicinal purposes. (not bear in a jar). Basically the bears are held in tiny cages and they have tubes inserted into their gallbladder. The bile is said to heal things like headaches. Yah, I know we have normal medicine for that! So here at the jungle sanctuary the bears are in pretty sweet enclosures. It was very cool.
We walked further into the jungle and it was another oasis. Pools upon pools of waterfalls. The water was so blue and it was so incredibly picturesque. These are photos I want to capture in my mind forever.
Shopping has been great! The night markets are full of interesting things. Some I have no idea what I am looking at. Claws of what? Bones of huh? But I could wander forever. And down an alley you have tables and tables of food. Fill your plate as high as you want for about $1.50.
Tomorrow we will wake up at 5:30 and feed the monks. A monk must eat everything he is given before 12pm. It should be rather interesting. Then at 7 we head on a boat. For ten hours we will sail down the Mekong that feeds into the Thai border. I definitely don’t think there will be internet for the next few days!