Saturday, August 18, 2007

Kill or cure?

Views from your hotel room balcony are hardly ever this good, especially not for under 20 quid a night.

It didn't take long for us to realise that Luang Prabang is almost too good to be true in many other respects too. The old town consists almost entirely of old French colonial architecture and sits on a peninsula barely 400 yards wide, at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers.

As the old royal capital of Laos, it's jam packed with stunning buddist temples and stupas at every turn - and the French influenced food is absolutely amazing. We felt at home immediately and with plenty of things to do locally we decided to hang around for a couple of weeks.

After the first 4 days exploring town we headed off to a luxury jungle retreat. The bungalow we stayed in was pure decadence, complete with polished teak veranda big enough for a football game and huge bathroom plus outdoor shower. If it hadn't been for getting food poisoning from the otherwise very pleasant restaurant it would have been a perfect 3 days.

As it turned out I spent 2 days with suffering from stomach cramps that felt like being disemboweled (plus a good deal of other unpleasantness I won't go into). The beginning of relief only came when we made it back to town and Mel came back from the pharmacy with antibacterial medication and a sachet drink that tasted a bit like liquid clay. Then my neck started siezing up and I was so dizzy I could hardly leave the hotel room for another 2 days.

After more visits to the pharmacy and some internet research we discovered that the new symptoms we're listed under serious side-effects of the medication I was taking. All told it was a good 5 or 6 days before I returned to somewhere like normal (for me anyhow).

In the end I was just glad it happened where it did and we had the time to deal with it. We still had plenty of time to do loads of great things like riding (and feeding) elephants, white water kyaking (kind of scary), taking a slow boat up the Mekong or visiting the picture postcard perfect Khang Si waterfall.

Not forgeting time for a deep research into Beerlao for the beer league. It's absolutely perfect for lubricating a stiff neck ...

Lao Jungle and Luang Prabang photos are online now.

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