The new Raven flew over terrain unlike anything he had ever seen before. Mountains erupted out of a sea of green jungle, some shaped like cones with sharp jagged edges, others thin as knife blades. Towers of limestone stood sentinel on the banks of rivers which twisted between them. From the air the countryside took on the shapes of fantastical animals. In monsoon season the craggy limestone rocks know as karst was covered with moss and green slime. Trees somehow grew from the cracks in the limestone, clinging to the mountains like gnarled old hands. The landscape was primeval, a million years out of its time, the setting for a pterodactyl to come flapping out of the dripping rocks. After the monsoon the whole area blossomed. A thousand different kinds of wild flowers carped the valley. There were giant yellow daises as tall as a man, and acre upon acre of white and red poppies . No one could fail to recognize that this was a place of very great beauty.
-Christopher Robbins 'Pilots of the Secret War of Laos'
|Looking over the Plain of Jars|
We arrived in North Laos on Tuesday 30th August to a place called Luang Prabang. This was the capital till 1960s until it moved south to Vientiane on the Thai boarder. Its a charming place full of Buddhist temples and monks who, daily at dawn, walk through the streets barefoot taking part in the Alms procession. This is quiet, spiritual and meditative ceremony in which the monks demonstrate their vows of poverty and humility thus gaining spiritual merit. The People here are the most relaxed people in the world and their motto; "Never Rush" really reflects their attitude to life. Its philosophy that really suites me, and a way of live that is interwoven into all of Laos culture. It can be a little annoying, however, when your stuck in landslide (which is often the case during monsoon season) and its take the workers 8 hours to clear it because they just take there time, 'never rush'.
On our second day we kayaked down the Nam Khan river to a beautiful waterfall called Tat Kuang. Here we spent the afternoon bathing elephants in the in crystal pristine water, and enjoying the swing. Its was great getting in the water with the elephants (they love the water to play) but it was clear to me that my elephant wanted to show me who was boss. As we approached the water with myself on its back, it swaggered, dropped and flipped me into the water. I went head over heels past its drunk into the water. He then rolled over on to his side, so I was looking inot its eyes and proceed to let three massive balls of poo into my face as the current took me right into the direction of the oncoming cargo.
|Who's the daddy|