|The Four Fearless Travelers|
Luang Prabang is the second largest city in Laos situated on the Mekong River. Yes, the same Mekong that we spent time on in Vietnam and again in Cambodia. It is hard to go anywhere in Southeast Asia and not be close to the Mekong. Luang Prabang, which sits on a small mountain plateau, has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
|BBQ'd Rats ready for lunch|
We are off today to explore the countryside. First stop was a village of the Hmong people (the Highland People, who speak their own language). Very poor, but we did see some of the villagers replacing their lean-to wooden homes with more modern cement structures. Strangest sight was the BBQed rats that they were roasting for lunch. These rats infiltrate the rice paddies; are caught by the farmers; then skinned and roasted over coals and served to the villagers. I have a pretty strong (and large) stomach, but I "passed" on this one.
|Asian Bears foraging for food|
Next stop was a Conservation Site run by a non-profit organization called Free the Bears. Laos, as well as Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, is home to a small black Asian Bear. It is becoming extinct because the Chinese think that certain body parts of the animal have great curative value.....and hence, they are killed in great numbers. Free the Bears is a rescue and educational institute that saves injured bears and nurses them back to health. They recently became home to four baby bears when their mother was ensnared in a trap and left to die. Members of our group went into the bear enclosure (after the bears were removed) and hid their food in difficult places to find. When the bears were again allowed into the enclosure they had to forage for their food.....trying to replicate conditions in nature.
Kousang Si Waterfall
Moving on we proceeded farther up the mountain to the Kousang Si Waterfall. Very beautiful place where we were treated to a very fancy picnic. All and all, a very lovely day.
|Those Honeymooners Again|
Returning to our hotel, Madeline and Ilene scheduled massages. I decided to go for a swim and then a nap (after all I'm President of the N.A.P. Club).
|Stanley's idea of a Rhorschok Test (i.e. trying to be creative)|
Tonight we'll have dinner in town and take a stroll through the Night Market.