Saturday, November 18, 2006


I wish I could have been there... instead I had to watch from an internet cafe in Bangkok. The game was on from 2:40 am until about 5:40 am. The workers in the cafe were intrigued by the strange sport I was watching on the computer.. I'm sure they thought I was crazy for staying up so late to watch it online. Griz won 13-7.

People say they can't relax in Bangkok... they are staying at the wrong places. The Rambuttri Village Inn has decent rooms, but you stay for the pool.

It's always great to get back to Bangkok. It's up on there on my list of favorite cities. Friday night I went back to my favorite theater and watched the new Bond film. Good movie.

The Lao Airlines flight was actually quite nice. The plane was relatively new and the service was great. I wouldn't hesitate to fly them again. They even served us lunch on the 1:45 long flight.

The bottom picture shows the Mekong River just south of Luang Prabang.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Banana Pancakes

1. Flatten ball of dough with cool wrist flicking action.
2. Fill with banana slices and fold up
3. Cook until golden brown and crispy
4. Cut into small squares, cover with sweetened condensed milk (or chocolate), provide toothpick for eating, and serve
(step 4 not pictured)

Wow... I'm really going to miss Thanksgiving this year.

There aren't any ping pong shows in Luang Prabang, which means the Tuk-Tuk drivers get pretty bored. Instead they harass you with offers of taking you to a cave or waterfall. Finally there was an offer worth taking. $3 round trip brought me to this waterfall. The name escapes me but every Tuk-Tuk driver will know what you are talking about.

Lindsay said I haven't been putting up any pictures of myself lately so I was sure to get some today. It was strange asking somebody to take a picture of me after I jumped in the water, but it really paid off... as you can tell.

BTW- did you know that the German flag is a speedo? They seem to be the only people wearing them and everybody seems to talk about it.

I visited what was supposedly a refuge for abandoned Asiatic Black Bear cubs. As well as a refuge for one female tiger. It's tough to determine if this refuge is actually just a tourist trap, but the animals certainly were interesting to look at. These photos really don't do the size of the tiger justice. (should have used manual focus... shooting through the fence complicates things for auto)

1 bug free bed in Luang Prabang = $9 per night (and I shopped around)

The night market in Luang Prabang is so quiet I found myself whispering to the 12 year old negotiators.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

If you haven't checked out Wikipedia you better. It's the most up to date Encyclopedia in the world as evidenced by one of its latest entries... Head to Wikipedia and search for John Harrington. Scroll down to the "See Also" section and read the 2nd entry.

traveling in this part of the world has helped me understand the value of this free content encyclopedia. A constantly updated resource that will soon be accessible for free by almost anybody on the planet. With the distribution of the $100 laptop in countries like Thailand and Cambodia, children will have free access to sites like Wikipedia and free textbook projects aimed to create free content open-source textbooks that will rival any $150 textbook. And by using Linux as the laptop's operating system (the One Laptop Per Child organization declined an offer to use Apple OSX for free) the children will be able to customize and create their own software and operating systems.

The stunningly modern local office of Lao Air, which I will be flying to Bangkok on Friday. (note: sarcasm)

This flight will be my 3rd regional flight. (1. Saigon-Hanoi on Vietnam Airlines 2. Hanoi-Bangkok on Asia Air 3. Luang Prabang-Bangkok on Lao Air)

Vietnam Airlines was very nice and up to the standards I'm used to. Asia Air was a pretty bad experience as the staff blatantly lied to us about the departure time several times (as they knew the incoming flight had yet to take off- they still told us our flight was leaving shortly- a common problem I later found out)

I'm curious to see how the Air Lao experience is.

A Wat in Luang Prabang, Laos. I have seen countless Wats (aka Temples) all over SE Asia, however, I have yet to actually step inside any. (well, with the exception of Angkor Wat)

I told some guys about my lack of Wat visits yesterday and they said, "What the hell have you been doing". Their surprise reminded me of how much I've been able to see and experience by avoiding the traditional tourist trails in each city I visit. Mostly I've spent my days eating at markets, street stalls, and food courts. I'm certainly not opposed to visiting Wats, I just haven't gotten around to it.

Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang is an UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Laos. I arrived here after a 6 hour bus ride from Vang Vieng. Unfortunately this region of the world is quite hazy this time of the year as evidenced by my photographs. (Northern Vietnam was the same)

This photograph shows the bank of the Nam Khan River which meets the Mekong in Luang Prabang.

View of the Mekong River from a temple that sits on Phousy Mountain in the center of "Old Luang Prabang". It is divided by the Mekong and the Nam Khan River.

A view from the Phousy Mountain Temple looking at the Nam Khan River.
Vang Vieng is a strange town midway between Vientiane and Luang Prabang, Laos. Surrounded by stunning limestone peaks, it is home to a strip of bars and restaurants running a constant loop of the television series, "Friends". The bars offer "Happy" shakes with choice of fruit and illicit drug. I decided to skip my usual banana shake as the language barrier could easily result in a wrong order. I had some dinner, beer Lao, and watched 6 episodes of Friends.
I took the Thailand Railway from Bangkok to Nong Khai overnight on November 10th. My 2nd class A/C seat folds out into a flat bed with privacy curtains and a reading light. This was my 4th overnight trip in 2nd class. (I hope to try 1st class before I go home in December)

The 12 hour journey landed me in Nong Khai around 8:30 am where I took a tuk-tuk to the Laos Border. After paying a $36 Visa fee and borrowing a passport photo from a Dutchman (I forgot to bring one of my own) I walked into Laos. (The Laos immigration photo didn't seem to notice the photograph was of a light-brown long haired man.