Cover Photo Credit: Christopher Ellis
Even after the late night antics trying to find our hotel in the early hours of the morning, I managed to wake up at 5:30am for a brisk but still slightly chilly walk to go see the monks receiving alms. Although I didn’t manage to snap the actual sunrise, I have pictures of the monks against a beautiful deep purple sky which contrasted brilliantly with the orange of their robes. We went to a couple of different locations, and because there was such a small group of us who made it up in the morning, our CEO took us to a Wat a little further away than usual and we got some awesome pictures of a river of orange robes all the way over a small hill and as far as the eye could see.
The majority of the group chose to go Elephant Trekking, whereas I decided to have a lazy day, possibly finding a little massage parlour to iron out the kinks from kayaking, catching up with emails from home and as it was a Saturday, maybe even calling home, before my parents were due to head off on their own holidays.
After returning to the hotel, I grabbed some breakfast and went back to sleep for a bit. I set an alarm, rolled over and silenced it when it went off and finally got up around 11.30am! We had a luxurious room with a fridge, I’d bought a massive bottle of water and I’d acquired some bananas from somewhere, so I mooched around for a few hours and headed out to explore in the afternoon. I found a nice little restaurant and stuffed myself so much that I couldn’t face having a massage now! I headed back to the hotel, walking along a stretch of the river, and met another of the group on his way out to the Ethnology museum, so like the tag-along I am, I joined him. I’m really glad I went, it was cheap and cheerful, only a short walk away, and not too heavy either. It gave a brief history of Laotian culture and history and gave us facts such as “Laos is the most culturally diverse country in the world with 49 legally recognised ethnicities within the three main groups, and almost 150 unofficially recognised sub-groups”.
There was a really cool little exhibit depicting the process of turning raw cotton plant into usable thread and an entire room dedicated to the advancement of women in modern fields like photography, graphic design and other professions that have never been open to the fairer sex in years gone by. There was a small piece on Batik, which is a technique used to dye patterns on to fabric similar to tie-dye, except the areas to be un-coloured are drawn on with wax and washed away with warm water after baking.
We went to an Aussie Sports Bar for dinner that evening where the food went down well with everyone, and we saw the first sign to Utopia right opposite where we were sitting in the bar. No prizes where we ended up later on! Due to my allergy situation, I made my excuses and left fairly early with some others, we didn’t get lost on the way back to the hotel and all in all it was an uneventful day. Until…
We found out the next morning that there had been some very late-night escapades involving the boys and their hard-wired desire to prove their sporting prowess. This resulted in one person taking a bit of a dive, scraping skin clean off of a knee, an elbow, and a really nasty gash in one foot. Apparently there was blood everywhere, emergency first aid carried out by one of the group and the poor dude then limped around for the remainder of the trip. Not fun, bless him, but at least he’d had a tetanus shot before the trip!