Our dynamic duo became a holy trinity in Luang Prabang, as we met up with one of Noel’s close college friends, Nick Soman (some of you may know him).
Luang Prabang (LP) was just what we needed at the moment, a relaxed atmosphere, waterfalls and some familiar foods. LP, a Unesco World Heritage site, is the Paris of Southeast Asia. The combined French colonial and Laotian architecture has been largely preserved and the city is bordered by two rivers, making it a picturesque city.
Laos is hot. Crazy instant sweating hot. To escape the heat we hoped in a Tuk Tuk and headed out to the large, beautiful waterfall an hour outside of town. The pools were turquoise and inviting with one small catch. The moment you stopped moving, hundreds of tiny fish came up and nibbled your legs. The longer you sat motionless, the more intense the biting became and we saw many people startled and amused by the whole scene. One of the individuals looked surprisingly familiar and sure enough, Shabbnaz, a friend of Noel’s from San Francisco was also standing right there. Small World (even smaller, considering that we ran into one of Nick’s friends from Boston later that night).
After catching up we set out to escape the crowds and began hiking into the jungle up to the top of the waterfall. We discovered some awesome hidden pools and dove in for a swim. As Clark was trying to get the perfect shot, a feat which required moving ever closer to the drop off below, he came within a few inches of stepping on “the most dangerous snake in the world” (according to Clark). You have never seen a man move that fast or scream that loud. Yes, this was our group’s closest encounter with a slithering serpent…until the infamous night in Vietnam (more on this later).
In an attempt to return to the chill zone, we headed to Laos’ appropriately named Utopia (arguably the world’s best bar).Utopia overlooks an exquisite river and laying in one of their fully reclining chairs, you can watch the sunset, with a beverage of your choosing. Over the evening different groups of travelers will filter in and out, smoking hooka and sharing their adventures. There is also a sand volleyball court because that is exactly…what you would expect to find in a Laotian bar.
Not a lot happened in Laos, but that seems to be the way to do it, and it made for a very enjoyable experience. LP was a great place to stay and we would have stayed longer if time restrictions did not apply.
Chill Zone: High