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The Dog Days of Winter

First off, I have to apologize to everyone freezing their butts off back home. I can only hope that winter is starting to thaw for you and that you can still remember the searing heat of summer. In other words, don’t hate me too much when you hear my complaint:

It is HOT in Laos.

TOO freaking hot.

As I write this, the sun is beating down outside, heating the air of Luang Prabang to a crisp 95 degrees Farenheit (in Celsius that is, umm… I dunno… HOT). So hot that you burn a little just walking to lunch. So hot that the fan in your ac/less room is pretty much useless. It’s TOO hot.

Fortunatly there are a variety of things keeping me cool this week:

Fruit Shakes

You can find these all over SE Asia, but Luang Prabang seems to be the epicenter for cheap and tasty. About a dozen stands line the main street, willing and eager to blend up any combination of fruits you can imagine for just 5000 kip (roughly 65 cents). My reccomendation: Lemon Orange.

Avocado Shake

photo credit: Andrew Turner


Massages

When walking from temple to temple in the hot sun gets too be tiring, I can just dip into one of the many massage parlors here for a relaxing foot massage. They cost about $5 and I’ve become a serious addict.

Waterfalls

One of the biggest attractions outside of Luang Prabang is the Kuang Si Falls. Any tuk tuk driver in town will be MORE than happy to take you there. They are an absolutely gorgeous series of falls and pools with clear water. There’s also a sanctuary for rescued sun bears that is pretty neat. You can swim here- but it’s ice cube cold!

Waiting til Nightfall

When the sun goes down the temperature drops a few degrees, making walking the streets close to bearable. This is good because that’s also when the night market comes alive! I am quite a fan of markets of all sorts, and this has to be one of the very best in Asia. Local merchants come out selling beautiful homemade silks, handbags, paintings and more. I had a VERY hard time keeping my budget in check here.

You may think I’m turning soft up here in the “Jewel of Indochina” and you’re not wrong. There’s just something about this lovely city that makes you want to laze around, sit in a coffee house and relax. It’s probably the heat- it just makes everyone slow down. After my mini-breakdown in Vang Vieng last week it’s pretty much exactly what I needed to re-energize.

And then it’s back to the real world….

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11 Responses to The Dog Days of Winter

  1. Globalista March 15, 2011 at 8:36 AM #

    You suck! It is grey and miserable here (current location: the Netherlands) & now I want to be in Laos again.

  2. Allison March 15, 2011 at 8:54 AM #

    Snow in the forecast for later this week here in Maine 🙁 Enjoy some sun for me – and some cheap fruit shakes (yum!!)

  3. Maggie March 15, 2011 at 2:34 PM #

    mmm.. Have you sipped on one of those shakes WHILE getting a massage? That sounds addicting!!

  4. Emanuele March 15, 2011 at 10:02 PM #

    I started following your blog recently – it looks like we’re doing pretty much the same itinerary more or less at the same time (Vietnam, Laos… we’re in Thailand now). Fruit shakes are great on the main street where the night market is. Have you tried any shake with Oreo (cookies)? Cookies were an amazing addition to any combination of fruits. And we also enjoyed one or two baguettes from time to time. Nice place Luang Prabang, we could have stayed another couple of weeks 🙂

    • Steph March 16, 2011 at 10:07 PM #

      Oh cool! Yeah I was sad to leave, it’s such a pleasant place. Missed out on the oreo shakes though so maybe that’s reason to come back…

  5. Rachael March 16, 2011 at 4:23 AM #

    I hear ya! It is (and has been for the past 3-4 months) INSANELY hot here in Perth. It’s ridiculous. Everyone keeps telling us this is the worst summer they’ve had…ever. They broke records for number of days over 90 in a row. And we don’t have A/C, just a little fan. And it doesn’t get much cooler at night.

    And now I am preparing to go back to the US, which would normally mean frigid Ohio (which just got dumped with snow a couple days ago). Instead my family is going to be in Florida so I’m heading there, and I’m actually pretty disappointed I’m not going to be getting back to cooler weather. Which is a lot coming from me because I normally *hate* winter.

    Enjoy your time in Laos (I actually had a very similar experience to you in Vang Vieng — it was one of the first places I went solo after traveling a bunch with a few friends, so I’m sure that’s why I disliked it so much)… Where are you headed to next?

    • Steph March 16, 2011 at 9:52 PM #

      Yeah, I’ve now reached Cambodia, which seems to be even HOTTER. Would really appreciate some relief. Headed to the coast today so hopefully that will be a bit better.

      And glad I’m not the only one who felt that way in Vang Vieng!

  6. Claire March 16, 2011 at 12:26 PM #

    heat or no heat, this whole scene sounds delightful!

    • Steph March 16, 2011 at 9:50 PM #

      Indeed- I was sad to leave!

  7. Andrew - The Unframed World March 16, 2011 at 7:39 PM #

    Great tip about waiting till nightfall to walk around. When in Singapore, I stayed in Little India and it was the same way. During the heat of the day it was fairly dead, but at night people crowded the streets and things came alive until around 1am.
    Although highly unlikely,you haven’t by chance ran into AsWeTravel have you? They are somewhere in Laos also it seems. A meet-up would be really cool to read about and also give you both some great cross PR. Just thinking out loud though.
    Expect another guest post photo card submission from me before April 😉
    Stay well!
    Andrew

    • Steph March 16, 2011 at 9:43 PM #

      I’ve been in touch with them but I think they are actually over in Thailand now. I haven’t met them before so they are definitely on my list!

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