Take this chicken, marinated in a home-made top secret recipe that is locked in the highest tree and guarded by a bunch of gibbons then grilled fresh every morning between two pieces of bamboo. Chicken has never been so moist and full flavored.When I first came to Lao two years ago I realized that the people share a deep love affair for all things fishy. Fermented fishy to be exact and it is about as appealing as it sounds. When you walk through the markets you can see huge vats of it sitting in open air amidst flies and tape worms. So when I heard that one of the main ingredients of papaya salad was fish sauce...I begged off. Until an angel descended to a stall in Luang Probang and made me fish sauce free papaya salad. And with the chicken we had every day, that is what I lived off of. You can't consider yourself a true Asian-circuit traveler until you have paid your dues at several sites. While many of the cities that these tourist traps lie in have lost their soul, there is still fun to be had. Tubing down the river in Vang Vieng is one of these such places. The gigantic tree swings, bars blasting music, children swimming in the river selling the ubiquitous Beer Lao...it promises to capture your interest and youth for at least eight hours*.
*please note that this picture was taken prior to the food fest that was Luang Probang....cut me some slack...
Mike hates this picture because he thinks that it makes him look out of shape. (What traveler is EVER in shape...I on the other hand thinks he looks charming) But I had to post it because it showed one of the latest additions to the tree swing....the tube ride slide, and it is seriously scarier than it looks. I refused. My dare-devil compadre on the other hand went off of it like four times. One of the more memorable (although TERRIFYING) things we did was take a speed boat down from Phongsali. Now when I say speed boat, picture a surf-board with a car engine strapped to the back of it flying through rock strewn rivers at what felt like 65 miles an hour. I wasn't so much worried about capsizing as I was about watching $5,000 worth of electronics sink to the
rivers bottom. The Lao kept looking over at Mike and I grinning as we white knuckled the sides of the speed boat. The ride was just as they had promised though, breath-taking. Miles of pristine jungle and hill-tribes that had probably gone their whole lives seeing only a handful of foreigners. You can eat, read, run, or have a drink. Everyone has something they do to de-stress. Mike 'Trisses'. He has this game on his Itouch called Tetris, but to hard core gamers like himself it's simply 'Tris'. He has sucked me into this twisted addiction and while my scores are infinitely lower than his, it's fun to compete. Ode to Moo...the most patient dog in the world. We love Mufasa so much and couldn't imagine a better dog ( although if he could catch a Frisbee, that would be pretty cool too). He sits still (and holds his pee) all day long on a hot crowded bus, he still cuddles with us after throwing him in the water earlier in the day, tolerates hundreds (no, this is not an exaggeration) of Asians petting, barking, whistling, and cooing at him. LOVE you Moo.