Thinking I had developed cataracts overnight, I rubbed my eyes. Still there. Of course, it was the misty film from the mosquito net!! They might be great for keeping the pests at bay, but not so good when you need the bathroom in the middle of the night. If you're on the hole side it's much easier. I wasn't. Much grumbling from the covered heap next to me.
He was over it by breakfast time and took a stroll round the gardens. He would really love to take some of the plants and seeds back to Scotland. He was most impressed with the Stag's Horn which attached itself to the tree trunk. Apparently the wild orchids do that here too. I have given him strict instructions that no plant smuggling is allowed this trip. We do not want to be fined and deported from New Zealand before we have arrived.
Oh my word, a little lizard just shot past me on the wall as I was typing. I nearly died. They're quite cute IF they don't sneak up on you like that!! Now, where was I??
Garden tour over, we were collected and taken to Luang Prabang proper. We visited royal palaces and temples. We saw the biggest gilded Buddha in the country. We viewed the golden throne and regalia belonging to the last king, who never made it to his coronation. When Laos changed to communism, the royal family moved north. No one knows where, or if they do know, they are not saying, Only an in-law remains, the owner of our hotel.
Red, gold and lots of bling. Real bling though. Gold and silver. I can't share photos of the palace. We had to store our cameras and hats in lockers. Still wondering why I had to leave my hat behind. Did they think it was a danger??
The Royal portraits were spooky. Painted by a famous Russian artist, whose name escapes me, the subjects' eyes followed you around the room and their feet seemed to point at you all the time too. Weird.
Then the temples. Did you know, it takes five things to make a temple - a 'church', monks, a banyan tree and AND! I've forgotten the other two. Must ask Yen, the guide tomorrow. That reminds me. After completing the blog yesterday, Hubby said I had made a mistake. He said there were 2827 bends on the road here. I checked. We were both wrong. There were 3827. Apologies folks. I was tired yesterday.
I am tired today too but I must tell you about three more highlights. We were a bit templed out, so we were delighted when Yen invited us to see the house he is building. Having saved all his working life, since leaving the monastery, he has almost completed his new family home. His love of nature and wood abounds in his choice of mahogany and teak floors, doors and furnishings. It is a testament to his hard work.
Our mutual love of wood led to an invitation to a local factory. Here a sixteen year old lad carved intricate designs for furniture. Three women sanded and prepared the heavy chairs and tables dispatch. At six thousand dollars, we were tempted. They were wonderful pieces but the postage would have been horrendous.
Our final destination into the rainforest, brought us face to face with black bears. They were in compounds and well cared for, being protected these days. Deeper in the forest we walked. The sound of cicadas was deafening but not as loud as the waterfall. Another hit on the bucket list. Bathers on and off I went. Hubby was a little slower, owing to the delicate nature of his tootsies. The water was cool and exhilarating. At times I fought against the current to avoid being swept over the next fall. A day I shall never forget.
But just before I close my eyes, it was so lovely to catch up with my big sis today. We usually chat every day, so our calls now are even more precious. Night K. Night all. Come on everyone - Night Jim Bob x