Sunday, November 10, 2013

Luang Prabang

What do you know about Laos? It's a question rarely asked and if your answer is, 'what's that?' don't feel bad. Like many of the countries in the region, Laos hasn't been open to foreigners for much longer than I've been alive.
We didn't know we had to fill out visa on arrival forms for entry into the country. It was a good thing we had extra photos and American cash leftover from our Vietnam visas since both were needed. Cam, being Australian, only had to pay $30 USD while I had to pay $42 USD since I was Canadian. The prices for each country were listed by the visa counter and Canadians were paying the most to get in. Wonder why that is.
It was such a noticeable difference landing into Laos. The air was fresher, the airport silent, and there wasn't a swarm of scooters about. I felt more relaxed in this relatively unknown country within the first hour.
One of my high school friends has been teaching in South Korea for the last year and planned a trip around the region unbeknownst us. The only dates our itinerary had us in the same city or country was Luang Prabang, Laos. We agreed that we hadn't seen each other in 5.5 years so you can be forgiving if I didn't shout out to someone who I was pretty sure was her. We had plans to catch up later that day, but it seems hard not to run into someone in that to town. My friend looked right at me as she walked by and her friend gave us a suspicious smile when she noticed me trying to sus out if it was indeed an old friend. Luckily my intense stares and creepy whispers weren't directed towards an innocent passer by. It was a fantastic time catching up with her and meeting her fellow teachers. We had dinner and then ventured to a place they had been earlier that day for drinks. Luckily the rain had cleared so we could enjoy talking about our high school antics while lounging by the river.
Although the start wasn't promising, Laos was looking better and better.

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