Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in Luang Probang, Laos

Sunset over the Mekong
We've been reminding ourselves it's Christmas can it be Christmas when we weren't at Lyle and Chris's house for Christmas Eve dinner, and we didn't have stockings to open this morning?  It's cooler here  than Cambodia, at the 20th parallel and in the mountains.  To appease the Christian tourists, a few plastic decorated trees are around, but it aint' the same!! The Perrett clan has succumbed to the reality of traveling and we are a bit under the weather, nothing serious but keeping us close to the accommodation today. Tom and Eli are brain engaged in scrabble, Mel is writing postcards to Australian pals, and here I am typing.......

Lao rice wine for sale
We stayed in Cambodia  for 9 days, 6 of which were at the project at Prolit village. On the weekend we were four of the three thousand visitors to Angkor Wat, the largest religious building in the world and home to tons of headless Buddhas as the heads were mostly all carted off by  the French and then the Khmer rouge. Sunday we got close and personal with silk worms, and took a slow boat to a floating village.At the project we all became attached to kids, families and other volunteers. Tom and Eli made quite a bit of progress working with the other guys building sanitation units, and Mel and I spent our time in the child welfare program. It required a bit of creativity to figure out how to make the best use of time when anywhere from 15 to 30 kids showed up on any one day. Aged between  3 and 18, most had quite minimal understanding of English. We had use of a  roofed structure with a cement floor, a white board, some flashcards, pens and paper, jump ropes,  matching cards, and a couple of tennis balls. Whatever we did they seemed to enjoy it, and I sleep better at night knowing they are all a lot better at singing BINGO than when we arrived.
200 or so monks 

Christmas dinner with Andy and Fam
At the moment we're in Luang Probang.  Nestled  in Central  northern Laos, it is a world heritage listed sight. Its beautiful and wonderful here but as we are in the traveling mode,  we are headed north to a small village called Nong Khiaw. And we have traveling companions! A few days ago we were at the night market and here comes someone wearing  a los bagels shirt, it's  Andy Slavin. He is a former teacher at SunnyBrae Middle School . He and his wife Michelle and 6 year old daughter Kyla are currently living and teaching  in Bali. They are here on holiday so we had Christmas dinner together. We're sharing a mini van and are driving up into the hills for a couple of days.

Mel and I on our beast
roasted pig head anyone?
Not being ones to sit around much, yesterday we embarked on a little expedition to an elephant camp. Mel was a little freaked at first as the Mahouts ( Elephant handlers) had fun with her and prodded the elephant to do a little trot to seem like it was out of control...... the guys were laughing as she was screaming. Next we headed to a very cool zip line, one of those tourist attractions not possible in USA due to the large number of barristers per capita. This only Loation zip has been open just  since last year and perhaps soon someone will tell them maybe they should do at least a few sentences of safety briefing....anyhoo the equipment was new, the guys seemed to know what they were doing, and it was FUN! The longest line was 200 meters so we were haulin' butt, zinging our way through the jungle.....

Today marks two things.......half way through our Asian adventure, and the day Tom and I met twenty years ago. Need to pack up now, we are leaving soon for parts north. Hill tribe villages, waterfalls, and heaps of fun in store no doubt. Thanks for staying tuned, I'm thinking I'll be turning out two or three more blogs and then that's all folks. Life in Arcata is wonderful BUT our goings on at home are much less interesting!


  1. Stephanie,

    We continue to enjoy the stories of your adventures. Great photos, by the way. And I love small world stories. Pass along our best to Andy and Michelle . . . their older daughter was on a Rec League basketball team I coached some years ago. I tried, unsuccessfully, to convince Michelle to coach with me to have a strong female role model for the girls.

    A belated Merry Christmas from wet and cool Humboldt County and a happy New Year!

    Rees and Amy

  2. What an amazing adventure your family is having. Makes us kind of jealous for all the wonderful things you are getting to experience. Keep on letting us know what you are doing - we love hearing about all of it. Love you all - mom and dad

  3. It's almost over!! Just want to make sure you know how much I am STILL enjoying reading your blog. Tom's guest appearance was hillarious! And the trip through Asia sounds really amazing. Can't wait to see you. Lets go have diner and a bottle of wine and you can share all the non-bloggables!
    Love, Xan

  4. Your trip to South East Asia is even better than expected. I wish again
    that I could be with you for the adventure.

    We are already thinking about Feb. vacation. Hope you are going to be
    able to join us.

    See you in three

    We had Drew's family here for Christmas.
    Tell Tom: I got them to play boardless Scrabble, because they take forever with the board.
    My next favorite game is Mah Jongg and I have taught two groups to play.
    That's what old women do and it's fun (not for money).