22 days but who's counting?
I feel like we are a book club. All we do is sit around and read. Together, alone, in hammocks, on benches, sunbathing, before bed. We spend equal parts with our books than we do with one another.
Lewis, the chocolate addict and northern Brit, just finished the Girl on the Train. He was unimpressed but inspired to keep reading. Callum, the easy-breezy yet decisive one of the group, is in the midst of Gone Girl...and he's still an Amy fan. Carly just started a fictional novel on the death of Bob Marley. Me...advice columns by Cheryl Strayed...**shoutout to my stateside KOSMO club**
The four of us tackled Chiang Mai and Pai together, plus all the other lovely people we meet in our hostels and at markets and in pools. After my last post (so long ago, oops), I too ended up getting food poisoning. Lewis suffered from it so bad a few days ago that he spent an evening in the hospital.
Nonetheless, there has been less reading the last week or so since we left the sunny, hippie-town of Pai. We spent a night in Chiang Rai -- Callum for the White Temple, myself for the cat cafe. We got up early the next morning and started our slow boat journey to Luang Prabang, Laos. 7 hours the first day, 7 hours the second. All in all, I probably wouldn't do it again. The scenery was crazy beautiful, but I would've felt fulfilled with one day.
So the few days before Luang Prabang consisted of buses, boats, and early mornings. Since being here we've explored our favorite night market to date, successfully woke up for a sunrise yoga class on the Mekong, met a Vietnamese man named Vinh (Vinny) who took us to a local bar that stays opened past 'curfew', got a flat tire on the way home from a waterfall, and had our first (and hopefully last) motorbike accident. I'll let Carly tell that story...
Today we head to Central Laos...but a few words of wisdom first:
-Don't book your elephant tour through an agency in Chiang Mai...or skip doing it in Chiang Mai all together. Wait for Pai (where there's a donation based option for the same experience) or even Laos. We learned the hard way and ended up over paying for a 'fake' sanctuary...
-DON'T buy Chacos specifically for traveling here...I've been so content with my Nikes and cheap Birks I purchased here.
-Listen to the advice of others but don't let it shape your experience or itinerary...I've already seen it happen in others too much!
-Being told to calm down does NOT in fact make anybody calm down.
-Eat at Na's and Cafecito in Pai
-If you take a slow boat, don't try to plan and stress over where you'll sit. Walk straight to the very back (past the engine) and you'll have space to yourself.
-Just do the best you can to be happy. Being moody will most likely effect you and you only. A lot of people I've meet here are searching for a purpose, some frustrated they aren't finding it...but who says your purpose has to be about meditation retreats or finding something within yourself that's supposedly missing? Don't cause internal conflict. My purpose is being HERE, exploring a new town by day and bamboo-hut bars by night, with my best and new friends. If I make it to sunrise yoga...that's just a bonus.