A little over a week ago I left Berlin with nine kilos.
And then today I went to the Warorot market in Chiang Mai and bought a few things to bring home (I think an extra 2 kilos worth of things). Though home feels still far.
I am also glad I went because: I got to see the flower market, I got a coconut for 15 baht, I found the tea mix to make Thai tea at home at the Tom Lan Yai market and took many many pictures of all the random goods Thai people sell there (but tried to avoid getting any hanging dead ducks in the frame).
In the area I also saw the Pung Thao Kong temple, a Chinese place of worship that was getting prepared for the upcoming Chinese New Year, this Sunday.
Loads of red paper balloons were hanging near the electricity wires.
I managed to get my papaya juice quota for the day and took it with me on a tuk-tuk to the airport.
One hour later, I had the stamp of my 46th country (yes, I am counting) on my passport!
I was so happy- because of the stamp and because of the scenery I could see from the plane- that I only realized later how much I had paid for the visa: 36 USD! Yes, 36 USD is how much most of the western countries have to pay to get into Laos.
But, seriously, who cares?
I shared a taxi ride into Luang Prabang with a guy from London and a girl from Colorado, we couldn’t stop wow-ing at everything that came across our car windows and the loud comments were flowing as if we knew each other. At some point I thought we were going to hug or something. It didn’t happen, but it’s true that when you are very happy you need someone to tell.
The lush vegetation, the kids playing in the street, the dirty roads, it all seemed so genuinely authentic and it was screaming in my face: you are in another country! And THAT is exactly the moment where the feeling of being far from home turns fear or nostalgia into excitement. If you have seen any documentary on chemical drug abuse, might remember the camera zooming in on an eyeball, with the pupil expanding because it needs to absorb more of the surroundings.
Without knowing much about drugs, I do feel I am on drugs when I am travelling.
The guesthouse where I am staying faces the river -the Khan river- and is quite close to the bamboo bridge that connects this part of town to a tiny island with some restaurants.
The Maekong looks amazing and so do the colonial store fronts and most of the buildings I have seen so far. Time should not be wasted with sleep while in Luang Prabang!
Our meditation monk the other day said that it is ok to sleep five hours, “the more you have the more you want” – I personally know one or two people who are going to strongly disagree with this. But the guy got my attention in so many ways that I might just go and write a list of quotes in a blog post…