Well occasionally I can travel without moaning. Not often but now and again….
Was collected at 9 am and really today was repeat with minibus what Sook and I had done on foot the day before..
Went into a few temples, (seen one seen em all?) One was quite dfferent though with mosaic decoration on the outside, quite beautiful perched above the Mekong.
No lunch included today so offered to foot the bill and this is a tourist town so 1.food was not as good,2. expensive, still only 11 us for both of us for one course. Suggested we stick to noodle shops in future.

Back to the hotel and I was stuffed, slept away a few hours.
Then had a beer at the hotel bar, nice, outside by the pool..
Then got ready for the obligatory xmas eve dinner, Told I had to have it when making my booking, 60 us…ouch!!!

So, 6 pm, a Baci cermony, gives blessings apparently, an old guy chanted and a few women accompanied him, best part was the Gamelan orchestra.
I had pieces of string tied around my wrist, supposed to stay for three days for luck!!! Had a nice Japanese couple sitting next to me, Maggie and Yukio…
Next came traditional folk dancing, quite good but a bit too long. One free glass of wine….
So, 8 am and I proceeded to my lonely table with a setting for one, five other pairs in the library.
Two gay couples and one asked me to join them, nice of them, a Brasilian and a swiss. They live in London.They were fun and have quite high powered jobs!!!!
Food, was pretty good, fresh and deep fried spring rolls, watercress soup, duck stuffed with pork in a coconut sauce(small duck), and fish baked in a palm leaf, excellent.
Dessert was rubbish but did not need it!!!

After dinner we went out and lit huge lanterns which floated up into the sky!!! A really nice night,and as I had been dreading it, doubly good.
First xmas without T in 26 years …..

Today, I slept in and missed breakfast as I was leaving at nine am to go up the Mekong to some Buddha caves.
A nice gentle way to start the day, a two hour cruise up the river. I must admit Iam having difficulty with all the damn steep steps, Sook, is very good, he puts out his arm for me, and has even pushed me from behind a few times!!! I say to him to just think Iam his grandmother..He introduced me to some Duropeans as his Grandmother, made thier eyes widen!!!!

Anyway, the Buddha cave was more an opening in a cliff, Climbed more damn steps, huffed and puffed but made it up 250..
Once a year locals bring statues of buddha to the cave, there Are thousands of them, from minute and crumbling to about 1.2 m high!!!!
Hordes of tourists, all two or three to a boat, mine only had me, but would seat about twenty…I waved royally from time to time…

Lunch, well what a treat and what a surprise!!!!!
We landed on the riverbank, nothing in sight but a shelter and a portable sawmill making mincemeat of teak logs….
We went to the shelter and wow! what a meal.
A green sort of soup, well green vegies in a stock with little chicken dumplings. Sticky rice, fried pork, more yummy fish with loads of dill cooked in a plam leaf, green mango salad and a chicken dish with more greens.
Golly it was good, realised it was my Christmas lunch….
Fabulous!!!! Just me and Sook and think T was hovering around somewhere..

Anyway, back across the river, into the minibus for a 65 k bouncy rideback to Luang Parang and a bit beyond to a fabulous cascading waterfall.
Hordes of toursits but worth a look. Must be limestone and the pools made by the waterfall were very blue like Lake Tekapo

Back to Lp, a little therapy in the night market but Sook just does not get shopping!!!
Supposed to go out with my dinner dates from last night but never got back till 6.30. No need for dinner really after that great lunch, so will finish off the duty free and watch a movie. Have an elephant back in the room upstairs so put the news on loud!!!!

Loads of new utes around, wonder who owns them. None as old as our old Datsun!!!!
Also, the dogs fasinate me, not at all the usual mangy mutts, some are quite woolly, almost like the designer labradoodles. French settlers brought poodles maybe?
Some look like a cross between a Jack Fussell and a beagle. The poor old cats just look mangy and unloved.

Have really enjoyed Laos, despite the chill in Phonsavanh and the cold here each am, thank heavens for the shawl and the last minute inclusion of a Khatmandu jumper. And, socks and sandles are the new fashion look …