Mahout Lady

Elephant Village.
2 Day Mahout Training program.
Highlight.

Lena Training
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Lena Mahout
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Ada Mahout
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Astrid Mahout
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My hearth stood still
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Relaxing
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Washing
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Feeding
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We are now leaving the confort zone somewhat more and go:
Muang Ngoi Neua – Nong Khiaw – Vieng Thong – Sam Neua – Vieng Xai, Pathet Lao Caves – Phonsavan, Plain of Jars – Vang Vieng – Vientiane
all by public bus

So internet and AC will be rare at places.

LPB

Yes, we are still in Luang Prabang.
After my three girls, one after each other,  I got sick too. Just when I thought I was spared. Now almost recovered. We finally got to do some stuff.

Kuang Si Falls really is a marvel and we saw many waterfalls.

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We all went swimming.
Searchpicture. Where is papa?

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Also great are the fish nibbling at the dead skin on the feet.

Hint: black trunks.

We also have some ideas what do do next, just not how.
Travel times het re are long.

Luang Prabang or the Art of doing nothing

We are in Luang Prabang for a couple of days now and did nothing at all.
We first had a hotel somewhat outside of the town.
The room was good but they had no breakfast, not restaurant close by and no cycles or something to rent.
Very inconvenient. We had to change even though Astrid was sick.
Now we are in the middle of the historic district in a very nice hotel.
The even have free bicycles to take, so far we have not used them.
After Astrid Ada got sick and now it is Lena. Fever up to 39 degrees but not much beside. Takes about 2 days.
Ada however now also has a cough.
So we basically spend the day inside playing games, watching TV and occasionally even do some “work” like sorting pictures or writing blogs.
We like it here. Completely unlike the rest we saw in Asia.
Here the main road of the old town “Sakkaline Road” at 14:00
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We are right beside a cloister. They change and wash their orange robe right below our window.
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Some Monks are merely 8 years old, kids.
Ada : “wie mached d’Mönche Chind?” (how do monks make kids)
Papa : “wie di andarä lüüt au” (like all the other people). Probably not really what she asked.

Ada : “äs giit ganz vili Wörter mit B : Bonusstange …” (untranslatable)

The art of doing nothing?!
With sick kids we have not mastered that yet.

Lao

Arrived in the last country that was on our first list.

Laos seems to be a spelling mistake that stuck. Official  name, people and language are all just Lao.

What do we do after arriving?

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Lao actually is my 50th country.
If I counted right.
Will celebrate once Astrid feels a little better.

First Lao impressions.
– No hotel rooms for families. Nobody with kids travelles here?
– Definitively much smaller than anything we did/saw in Asia

Hà Nội

Night sleeper train was OK.
Hanoi
Not as suicidal as Saigon but still very busy.

We will go to Halong Bay (007 Golden Gun) and then another 2 days in Hanoi.
After a long struggle and investigations how to go to Lao we had 4 options
– Go N to Sapa and cross in the far north
– 24 h Bus to Vientiane
– 24 h Bus to Vientian but leave somewhere (Bak Sao) and make the rest in public buses
– Fly to Luang Prabang
In the end my rather low level of energy tipped the scale in favor of flying.
Luang Prabang also seems to be a place where we can rest a few days.

Hanoi:
The guy in the middle holds a electric plug as a symbol for the electrification of Vietnam. What else?
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Women here are afraid of getting a tan. You can see them in Sweaters in the hottest weather.
The masks should not only ward off pollution but also keep the face white.
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We like the lake just 5 minutes walk from our hotel which is located in the old town.
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Flashback Hue Imperial Citadel (Đại Nội):
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Flashback Hoi An:
Astrid ordered Springrolls. They looked very “different” when they arrive.
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Astrid : “Das sind kai Früeligsrollä” [these are no springrolls]
Waitress : “local speciality, take the ricepaper (visible bottom of pic) and roll yourself”
Lena, like a teacher : “Mami, miir sind da immä nä anderä land!” [mama, we are not in Kansas anymore]

Hue

We arrived at around 12:00 and wanted to visit 3 of the 7 tombs of the Nguyen emperors (they are about 20 km apart), for this we rented a taxi. We managed to do 2 in the end: the Tomb of Tu Duc [he had 103 – 105 wives (difficiult to keep track) but no heir. A bummer. Now you managed to become super-alpha-male but then you are infertile.  Bad luck.]  The Tomb of Khai Dinh, very different, from 1925.  The Tomb of Minh Mang was then already closed. These things are huge, some rather small cities then just a tomb.
No pic, it was toooo hot.
Talked to and afroenglish women that we saw already 3 times. She really is easily spotted here, more looked at then our blondies.

Today the Imperial Citadel (Đại Nội). Even hotter, some 37 degrees.

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Now Late checkout for the sleeper train to Hanoi at 20:00. Our first train.
PS:
Hardsleeper (softsleeper were booked):
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Hoi An / My Son

[Hoi Än] / [Mi son]
Hoi An is an UNESCO etc. thing. Indeed very neat, however it became very touristy. In every building is a tailor or restaurant. Do not know how they all survive.
My Son (also UNESCO) is about 50 km distance.
Old Cham place, same time as Ankor but they were enemies.

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Lots of buildings destroyed by bombing.
Guide was anoyed with us: we knew all answers to his questions, even the kids new the name of the holy snake around Shivas neck.
On the way back to Hoi An on a boat.

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And finally Hoi An, no good pics yet on Mobile.

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Now big planning session. How to get to Lao (have to leave VN 24.05) and what to do there (big problem because tubing is now forbidden). And where to go from there.

Lena hat 3 grosse Mückenstiche am Rücken.
Mama : “fu wo sind diä?”
Lena : “Diä han i sid dä schwiiz”

Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh Trail

For 5 years new a new road exists on one part of the original Ho Chi Minh Trail, so it is possible to do it comfortably.
But parts of it can be hiked.

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We visited another minority village where they probably only saw blond girls in TV.
The entire village came to see them. The advantage : if they take pictures we also can without shame.

Lak Lake

Das schwankt ganz schön fest auf den Viechern. Das waren mal Arbeitselefanten. Seit das Holzen aber verboten ist, musste eine neue Beschäftigung gefunden werden. Sie versuchen auch zu züchten, aber das ist offenbar nicht so einfach. Der steile Übergang ins Wasser gibt Herzklopfen.

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