NEW VIDEO: Hot Air Ballooning in Laos

 

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Q&A with Sawubona Magazine

In June, Sawubona, South African Airways’ in-flight magazine published a Q&A column about our journey around the world, which began in January 2013 in South Africa.

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Continue reading (page 16)

 

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Luang Prabang – Laos

10 days in Luang Prabang 

Want a vacay idea? Head to Luang Prabang.

I absolutely love this place. I love the people that love this place. It’s Capitol Hill meets Pottery Barn.

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We accidentally ended up here about six days longer than intended thanks to my second job interview scheduled for Monday, May 5. I was delighted about the interview, albeit incredibly nervous that the internet in Laos isn’t exactly existent or impressive, but mostly thrilled at the excuse of staying longer.

Our week plus here ended up being perfectly timed to write magazine articles, blogs, play with photos and videos, go for daily runs, touch my toes in yoga classes, reunite with volleyball, dance like crazy at hours extending beyond our previously established bedtime, splash in puddles and dodge lighting in the most dramatic storms we’ve seen yet, swim in waterfalls, impress one another with creating chicken stuffed lemongrass, stomaching tripe and slurping up bile.

Oh, did I mention there is a night market? Every. Single. Night.

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The first few days we rented pedal bikes, cruised around and donated endless hours to Utopia. Utopia is a sweet zenned out riverside joint with inviting cushions featuring a view during the day, and serving as a lively mecca for travelers at night.

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One day we rented a scooter and rode 30km outside of my favorite town to Kuang Si Falls. The falls are amazing and we definitely didn’t expect Laos to pack this much beauty.

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Our other days in town were spent cruising around on bikes, checking out temples and climbing up stairs to say goodbye to the setting sun.

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One of my favorite days of the entire trip was taking a cooking course at Tamarind. We do a good deal of research before committing to pricier ‘touristy’ stuff like this because, well, frankly we are flat broke.

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Every penny was worth it. I would do it again in a second. I might even fly all the way back to Luang Prabang JUST to take this class a second time.

Need a place to stay in Luang Prabang? Head to Indigo House. Not only is the location perfect, they have market-view porches and incredible grub.

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What else does LP offer besides acting as a perfect recharge point for two 27-year-olds on early (okay, temporary) retirement?

Monk spotting.

I was up around 4 a.m. and just beat the sun rising. Naturally I stepped out without shoes and in my boxers thinking I would be the only one to watch the monks walk around their route collecting rice offerings. I was wrong. Really wrong. The streets were packed with locals and tourists, all with a small blanket laid upon the sidewalk offering up sticky rice to the passing monks.

It was quite magical.

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Some people say I have ADHD. I can’t pay attention long enough to ask why, but James has become quite desensitized to it. When I say “I’m going to see the monks, be back in an hour,” he knows not to worry when its been 6 hours and I’m nowhere to be found. Particularly if he knows a morning market is nearby.

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I cruised around the market for several hours, absolutely falling in love with the colors, smells, textures, sounds and the whole little town transitioning from a peaceful sleep into a bustling fair.

I bounced around between two purse stalls, carefully examining every one and wondering if $5 was completely insane to spend on a purse, considering I didn’t have anything to put in it and that was the cost per night of our guesthouse.

Heck yeah this cutie is worth it. I should have bought the whole stall!!!!

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Luang Prabang packs a serious artsy fartsy punch for you creative right brainers out there.

Accidentally more than once we cruised up on some lady weaving in her driveway…

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One very gorgeous morning, Lyndsey and I left the boys at home to head to
Ock Pop Tok store. I would say we discovered treasure, because this place is incredible.

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The showroom was littered with brilliant batik pieces, traditional designs and modern twists to create an overwhelmingly sweet viewing experience. Naturally Lyndsey and I ended up in the workroom, and then of course on a mini shuttle to the Living Crafts Center. We spent two hours wandering around the beautiful grounds. We met the silk worms who donate their lives to the creation of these fine invaluable threads. The artisans that spend hours working with complicated patterns on the looms have the warmest smiles that you feel like you want to spend the whole day being mesmerized by the sounds of the wooden blocks creating rows of intricately woven threads.

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Even if you are some macho hot dog eating, gun wheeling hunting dude, I guarantee you will be impressed by this operation and the simplicity yet overwhelming complexity of weaving.

On Monday, May 5, I had an interview with a children’s hospital via Skype. Skype cooperated for the most part, however the chickens that were loudly greeting the rising sun at four-something am definitely did not help sell my professionalism.

After the interview we celebrated the idea of perhaps one of us being employed and jumped into a death trap shuttle to Vang Vieng.

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