Today we woke early, packed up, and headed into Chiang Mai to visit a beautiful park. Yoga and tai chi taking place in the grassy knolls, with beautiful fragrant flowers and water features about. Smack dab in the middle of this gorgeous park was a AA meeting with at least 30 people of all ages and from all over the world (but most were Poms, Greenbacks, and Aussies) living in Chiang Mai. I really enjoyed meeting such interesting people.
After the meeting we picked up Kayla and Ryan and headed to chill at a café before going to the airport to fly to Laos. We had Thai iced teas with tapioca pearls, so yum! Bammie spent some quality time with Twila Beth, who is still sick but on the mend.
We arrived in Laos and were picked up by our guide for the next three days, Siphone (pronounced See-Phone) and transported to the beautiful town of Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang is a city in north central Laos (population 56,000 per Wiki) that is made up of 58 small villages, 33 of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is described as a unique and remarkably well preserved architectural, religious and cultural heritage, a mix between rural and urban, and heavily influenced 19-20th century French Colonial. Laos was occupied by the French at that time until the Indo China war when the French were thrown out in the 1950s.
A minute on history. Indochina traditionally refers to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The French occupied the area in the 1800-1900's and the first Indochina war took place after WWII when Indochina defeated the French and South Vietnam 1945-1954. The French influence is still very prevalent here, notably seen in architecture, language, and food. FYI the Second Indochina War was the Vietnam War, which I had clearly forgotten from history class in school.
Our accommodation, the Rosewood Hotel is a boutique hotel with only 23 rooms. It is tucked away in the lush green jungle along the bank of the Mekong River. The scenery is incredible and the hotel's attention to detail is remarkable. Upon arrival we were greeted with a welcome drink made from locally grown fruit and herbs. Our room is on the river and the sound of the running water is meditative and lulled us to sleep. Plus the minibar has free snacks and drinks. The overhead lighting has a night light option, which is perfect for sleeping. One (of many) thing I miss about pre-baby life is being able to sleep in pitch dark silence. Now that we have a baby (who sleeps in bed with us) we need white noise and light to ensure a) we don't roll over her in bed, b) I can see where to put my boob in the middle of the night when she cries and c) she doesn't wake up to sudden noises like sleep farts or snoring.
After settling in our rooms we dined at the hotel to sample local Laotian cuisine. Water buffalo curry which looked and tasted like mud, river bottom soup (the name mom coined, I'm not actually sure what it was called), fish salad (as gross as it sounds, this was the winner of the night) and a sweet chicken curry (I'll leave you guessing with this one but...). All in all we won't be dining there again although the ambiance and decor could be in a magazine featuring luxury hotels.