Saturday, January 16, 2010
New Years in Laos: Part Three
On New Years' Eve, we biked to a riverside resort, by Tad Lo Waterfall. We enjoyed an open-air meal, or alfresco dining experience as Spiceroads called it, and used the ongoing Scrabble tournament to help keep us awake until midnight. We also enjoyed the Laotian Rice Whiskey, or lao-lao - some more than others. After a long day of biking in the sun, that midnight seemed a long way away! Some people bailed out when Hong Kong, which was an hour ahead of us, hit midnight. I think I went to bed at 12:01am. The next day, we enjoyed a rest day at this resort. And the moment Randy and I had been waiting for all week: the elephant ride. We had spotted the two elephants the night before when the "elephant drivers" rode/walked them to the river where they gave them baths, and it was love at first sight. The elephant we rode was named Muma, and she was 60-years-old. The bath took place in the evenings as well. Crowds would come out and watch. The two elephants knew their bath routine like the back of their...foot?? (Which are adorable, by the way.)
A luxurious rest day! On our last day, we biked to Tad Pha Suam, an open air museum, where we saw traditional Laotian homes and folktrades in action. The women hold the loom with their feet and sit all day making their textiles!
From there, I began my long motorized journey back to Ankara, which from the time we got in the support vehicle to drive to the border of Thailand to the moment I arrived in Ankara on Monday morning and jumped into the classroom to teach, took me 48 hours.
My last adventure was in Cairo, however. I had a 9-hour layover in Cairo airport, and there I met a German woman my age who was on her way back to Vienna, where she was also a teacher. Since we both had long layovers, we decided to make the most of it together. We hired a taxi to drive us to the Great Pyramids, and then hired a camel to walk us through the desert to a beautiful panorama of the 'mids. Then we drove back to the aiport, got on our separate planes, and went our separate ways. It was really surreal to have just been in Laos, and all of a sudden be riding a camel in Egypt with this woman I just met, but I had to slowly ween myself off of adventuring before going back to work. I am still waiting to be emailed those pictures. :)
As a finale for this travel blog, one of our fellow bikers, Carmen, was a freelance journalist for the BBC news. She was doing a story on traveling solo, and was filming us the whole trip. Within a week of the trip's conclusion, her piece aired on BBC news as a 6-minute story called, "Soliday." Although not interviewed, because I wasn't traveling solo, you can see me in the water, eating, and biking! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AkHsdmYTTg