Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wednesday, April 2 (4:56PM)

Laos is a beautiful place. This was one of the destinations that I knew the least about when Mum and I began this trip, she was totally set on getting to Luang Prabang (where we are now) if it killed her. I now understand why. It is lush, and warm and the people are very kind and the food is amazing.

Here is a view from the plane, but as with most spectacular views framing it takes away some of what made it so magnificent.

After we settled in to the hotel we decided to go check out the market across the street, we wandered down an alley and we found it lined with street vendors selling food of all description. Sandwiches (there was one lonesome doner stand), various spring rolls, roasting whole pigs, noodles of all kinds, whole roasted birds whose colour ranged from a deep orange to a stunning red. They were beginning to break down their stalls but the aroma of smoke and spice still lingered as we walked along.

For some reason I had decided before leaving that I had spent too much time behind a camera and left it at the hotel for this walk. Very dumb in retrospect.

This is what's left of my snack.

The use of the baggy all through Asia has been remarkable. Every food you can imagine can, and is, served in a baggy. It's amazing. The smaller clear baggy is the dipping sauce that came with the spring rolls, which could have been tricky but worked out surprisingly well as I walked through the market munching these yummy but definitely greasy spring rolls filled with some sort of sweet potato/squash and glass noodles. The sauce itself had three different parts that were combined in the bag. The first was a dried chili powder mixture, the second was a brown powder that looked somewhere between dried chicken stock and dashi flakes, and the last was the liquid, which as far as I could tell was a stock of some sort.

I also found the local beer, appropriately called Beerlao, which comes in both a lager and a dark beer. I have tried both in my short time here but they are both very good. Better then the Cambodian beer in my opinion. I like the dark beer better than the lager, which surprises me because I generally favor light beers. Although I did see on BBC world news that Guinness is becoming very popular in Asia because of how it pairs with the local cuisines.

Right now I am finishing my Beerlao dark on the porch of our hotel watching the night market being set up. I'm alone except for the lizards, which are everywhere. There haven't been quite this many lizards anywhere else.

Lizards directly above my head.

Night Market being set up.

I'm looking forward to more food in baggy's tomorrow.

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