We had an excellent French style dinner last night, as we ate at the famous L’Elefant. We are eating at their sister place tonight. Mike said he had the best frog legs he has ever had. I had the duck which was tasty but just a little tough. We also had a great bottle of champagne. Sheri had a nice seabass, and we topped it off with coconut ice cream with chocolate sauce.
We were so tired last night, but we walked the Night Market out front of the hotel. Finally at 10 pm, we called it a night. By the way, we have a mosquito net on our bed, just like the jungle in Peru. After a simple breakfast at our hotel this morning, we headed out. Sheri stayed behind to rest. After we visited the main Buddhist temple, we headed out on a long tail boat up the river. We passed many interesting things, such as a prison, small villages, lots of vegetable patches, gold mining, sand and rock collecting (to make cement), banana farms, and papaya plantations.
We ended up at the famous Buddhist caves, a natural cave found in the sandstone cliffs along the river. We visited both caves, with the great number of steps up to the 2nd one, enough to make a Beerlao taste good. So we proceeded to lunch across the river. We had a nice lunch of sauteed chicken, fried fish, veggie soup, and several Beerlao. We met up with a nice couple from the US that were former Eastern Airline employees. They have traveled the world, as he was a pilot for one of the Saudi sheiks for several years. They have lived in Cairo, Syria, Paris, Rome, Athens, essentially anywhere you can find a Meridien Hotel, as this guy owns 143 of them!!!!
Bidding farewell, we headed back for a faster trip back down the river, stopping only at a small village to see them make paper. We had also stopped on the way up at a Laolao (whiskey) factory, and bought a few bottles. The paper was not much, but when we gave the kids some hair bands and stickers, we were the Pied Pipers of Lao. Amazing how their shyness disappears when you are handing out gifts.
Back to town, we found Sheri resting comfortably, and headed down to the ATM and here to the Internet. With 8700 kip to the dollar, we feel very rich here. We spent millions (of kip)on our dinner last night. We plan to visit the Night Market again today, as well as the Morning market tomorrow, along with a trek up to their mid city temple. It is 400 steps to the top, so we decided to go in the early morning rather than sunset. We cannot help but remark how much better off the people seem here compared to other SE Asian countries, such as Cambodia. We decided it is because of the river and its vast riches. Also, people farm or fish for food, and seem very happy all the time. We should send the youth of today here so they can see all of this.
See you tomorrow. This has been an unexpectedly nice visit to a country we knew very little about.