Monday, January 14, 2008

Laos and the Gibbon (or large tree rat) Experience

Brad, Ann, and I hit the road for Laos on the 30th.
We took a bus to Chiang Kong, a town that borders on Laos, and hung out there for an evening.
We stayed at the Bamboo Forest Hostel. There was a Mexican theme, proclaiming itself as a place where "Thailand meets Mexico."

To say the least the entire thing was genius.

On New Years Eve we took a boat across the river to Houyxai, Laos.

We all got real fresh and hit the small town.

After we all had a Beer Lao we got up enough courage to walk in on what we thought was the bad ass New Years party.
Turns out it was a funeral. But it was definitely the best party in town that night. The Laotians warmly accepted us crashing the party. An old man fed us shots and weird food till we had to leave in fear of the hangover that would happen if we stayed.

New Years Day was the beginning of our big hike with The Gibbon Experience.
A group of 7 of us put our lives in the hands of two Laotian guides.
We hiked deep into the forest, put on harnesses and zip lined across tree tops.
by night we slept in a tree house. We fell asleep to the brightest stars I have ever seen and woke up to what sounded like a nature sounds CD.

This a kinda bad video I took while zipping across the jungle:

The first evening in the tree house we played charades and created the new category- diseases. Ann and I preformed so well at this category that we earned the name Disease Queens.

The second day we hiked to a water fall where I pretended like I was in Fern Gully.

And Brad had some quality time with our guide, Juni

The Gibbon Experience is marketed as an opportunity to spot some Gibbons or other animals in their natural habitat.
The only animal we saw was a large rat in our tree house on the second night.
None of us were too bummed about it though.
The group dynamics were good and we all survived, which was the most important part.
When we made it back on the 3rd day we clutched our beer Lao like a well deserved trophy.
Upon return to Houyxai my sister ended up getting sick in the night.
She woke up that morning whispering in my ear about the possibilities of malaria or denki fever.
As a stroked her warm forehead I ended up spotting a bat climbing into the room through the window fan. It wasn't an ideal situation to get sick in.
After Brad and I feared her death she ended up turning around and pulling through.

The next evening I woke up in the night. hallucinating and turning up my insides.
But we needed to get out of Houxyai. I drank lots of Coke and water and we flew out of an airport complete with bamboo huts.

Brad and I spent the last leg of the journey in Luang Prabang, Laos. While Ann made her way back to Chiang Mai.

We arrived at the most charming guest house and had to wait an hour for the room. Brad explored while I waited on the front porch.
My stomach hurt and all I wanted was to take a hot shower and sleep. When I was about to put my head down on the porch table and cry the owner of the guest house brought me a cup of lemon tea.
Like every time I want to put my head down and cry here in Asia, someone appears to help me out.

That day Brad and I walked around the town of Luang Prabang. The only thing we did not capture on film was the moment I barfed on the sidewalk.
I am pretty sure it was food poisoning though because after that I felt much better.

I was able to enjoy banana smoothies made on the street.
Flies crowded the blender and we even spotted a bonus bee hanging around the produce section when we order one smoothie.
But the fruit was fresh and when we told them not to load the smoothies with sugar it was delicious.

Like most people who visit Laos, I feel in love with it.
The country kicked my ass like an abusive boyfriend, making me beg for forgiveness.
Laos and I both forgave each other and I promised I would come back to it.


Cara said...

that movie is on my top ten list of the year...the new year.

Emily Mayer said...

wha happened? dont leave me in suspense

(word verification: erbgut. e-r-b-u-g-u-t--to vomit on the sidewalk while simultaneously having a stranger walking by you hold your hair back and wipe your mouth. erbgut.)