October 02, 2003

Photos Galore!

Just uploaded TONS of photos!

Two new galleries from Laos.

And nine galleries from China.

Posted by binduwavell at 04:43 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2003

Goodbye Laos

'Bout time for an update! After leaving Luang Prabang (LP), I spent 10 days in Vang Vieng(VV) which is about halfway (distance) between LP and Vientien. I have spent the last couple of days in Vientien, and I'm headed to Bangkok, for a week, tonight.

Now the longer version: The bus ride from LP to VV took about 6 hours, winding down out of the mountains. There were lots of folks with machine guns walking along the road. It was hard to tell if they were Laos Army, folks that are up to no good, political fighters, or just farmers/hunters that are up for a little sport with Bamby and a machine gun! We even had a guy on the bus with an AK47... I think he was the local "sky-marshal".

Anyway, the journey was uneventfull and I really enjoyed VV. One of the disadvantages of comming down from the mountains was that the weather got imensely more overcast (most of everyday was grey!) I didn't let it get me down, although I did spend a few days in my hotel room fiddling with my computer, because I didn't feel like roaming around... The town is very setup for tourists, millions of restaurants and guesthouses... Lots of signage for adventure treks, tubing, caving, hiking, biking, etc. It's a little grating visually, but the people are really nice, no agressive selling, no folks pretending to be friendly so they can get something from you. The families in town seem like they are happy to benefit from the travelers, but they are also quite happy to do their own thing without getting to caught up the money money money money stick that happens in so many other tourist places.

I spent several days, tubing down the local river, and one very memorable day swiming into a cave under a mountain! There is light for the first 10-20m, then it gets pitch black. It took me about 4 or 5 attempts to get the courage to go into the dark cave (with my headlamp.) And then 2 or 3 more before I made it all the way to the back. It's funny how one can imagine all sorts of monsters lurking under a mountain :) There is something so exilerating about facing a fear and comming out the otherside, no worse for wear... or in my case with no pads left on my fingers (but it only took 3 days for them to heal :) The lime stone walls acted like sandpaper on my finger tips so when I finally got out I had blood oozing from the tips of all of my fingers and thumbs... and no actual cuts... just sanded pads! Yikes... Anyway, a few days worth of Iodine and very sensitive fingers was a worthwhile price to pay, I had sooo much fun!

I've now been in Vientien for a couple of days, it's still overcast and raining even more than it did in VV. So I've spent quite a lot of time sitting and reading (currently reading Confessions of an English Opium Eater) in posh Europeanish cafes and lovely streat side Lao shops. I also spent the afternoon yesterday visiting a local sculpture park. There didn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to where the sculptures were placed, just tons of them from both the Hindu and Buddhist pantheon. In someways, it seems quite pointless, somehow that made it even cooler. This guy went to Vietnam and studied with some Hindu guru, then came back and spent years constructing all these concrete sculptures in a lovely little park along the Mekong.

So tonight, I'm planning on taking a night bus to Bangkok. My ticket for Hong Kong curently leaves on the 1st of September, but I'll try and move it up a bit, doesn't matter that much tough if I can't I'm happy to hang out in Bang Kok for a week.

Hope you are all well!


-- Bindu

Posted by binduwavell at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2003

Tons of photos

I guess it pays to get sick once in a wile :) I was planning on heading to Viang Vieng today, but had such a nasty belly last night I postponed. I slept till noon (am feeling a bit better) and now have spent several hours uploading all the photos I've been hoarding for ages :) Slow connection be damned!

There are a few pictures from Delhi that I hadn't posted yet.

The whole Thailand gallery (Koh Tao and Chiang Mai) is finished. Many of the Koh Tao pictures were stolen from my buddy Gray or from a CD of photos from the New Way diving shop, also several come from a DVD that they produced for my Open Water course.

Finally there are a bunch of shots from Luang Prabang in Laos.

I hope you all enjoy!


-- Bindu

Posted by binduwavell at 04:54 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2003

Update from Luang PBang

So I've been in Luang PBang (Laos) for just over a week. Turns out that many of the shops are closed on Sunday so things livened up quite a lot the day after I got here. I've seen lots of museums, temples, been hiking, biking and motor cycling around. One expedition to a big local waterfall was worth the whole trip to Laos! The view from the bottom and the opportuity for a swim was really nice, but a 15 minute hike up the mountain and then into! the waterfall revealed a couple of really lovely pools for swiming in, with water falling from above then going over the lip of the pools and falling down bellow. Very dramatic and really just wonderfull!!! (Thanks Jewels for the tip!!!!)

That being said, I'm feeling quite mixed about being here. I'm not taken by the city as much as I had expected to be, and I'm really not sure what to do about my trip into China, which is both a thrilling prospect and a daunting one. I think I'll leave for Vian Vieng on Wednesday and spend a few days there. Then head down to Vientien. I can then fly to China directly or head back to Thailand and use my existing Bangkok-Hong Kong ticket. On top of the trepidation I'm feeling about going into China, I'm also not sure about my itinerary once there. I have been planning for a long time to go to Yunnan province, Hong Kong and up the east coast to Shianghai, however after reading a bunch about Yunnan, I'm less inclined to go there and instead I think I'll focus my time on the east coast, as it contains the major tea producing reagions I'm interested in visiting. This may also give me enough time to visit Bajing, which seems more interesting now than when I started the trip. The confusion I'm feeling has to do with breaking my existing plans which were pretty arbitrary for another set of plans which are still pretty arbitrary and not having a good mean of getting a sanity check (Other than just telling myself to jump :)

Much love to you all!!!

-- Bindu

Posted by binduwavell at 03:49 AM | Comments (1)

July 16, 2003

On The Road Again

Just a quick note to let you all know that I'm on the road again. I'm leaving for Chiang Mai today. Will stop for the night on Koh Samui and then fly up north tomorrow morning.

I feel really at home here and I'm going to miss a lot of people :( I'm also feeling ready to get on with the journey, to explore strange new worlds and brave new people ;) I'm really looking forward to taking a Thai cooking class and doing a little treking before heading over to Laos.

Lots of love to you all!

Posted by binduwavell at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)
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