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"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Laos: Those First Impressions...

It was a long flight to Laos; 11 hours Heathrow to Bangkok, a 4 hour stop over and then another 2 hours in a tiny plane up into the Laos mountains. Needless to say when I saw the size of the final plane I took a valium and had a couple of beers to steady the nerves. So by the time we arrived in Luang Prabang we were pretty exhausted. 

Our guide, Saeng Touly, and driver picked us up from the airport and drove us the short distance to our hotel, Maison Souvannaphou (Champa room - breakfast is included). 

Luang Prabang is a beautiful little town sitting beside the mucky brown Mekong river. It used to be the capital city of Laos and is now an UNESCO site. 

The weather is hot, humid and when it rains it simply drizzles for a short while and then stops. 

We spent the first afternoon sleeping but then got up for cocktails by the pool before going for a walk along the peninsula and settling on a restaurant for a steak. 

We took a sleeping pill to help readjust to local time.

On the Tuesday morning we had breakfast by the pool and then meet up with our guide again to Explore the town further. We took in a few magical temples and the ancient crafts museum. The tour included visits to the Royal Palace Museum, Wat Xieng Thong and the `Water Melon` Stupa and the 319 step walk up the Pousi hill to see the commanding views from the top. Phew!

First impressions? Laos is a beautiful lush country, mainly forests but has a repressive one party government and we heard some chilling stories of fathers and sons from Hmong families (one of the many ethnic minorities here) just 'disappearing'.

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