Saturday, April 01, 2006

Caves and Tigers and Waterfalls and Bears... OH MY!

No I don't mean Dan, we saw bears and a Tiger today.
We also saw three villages, hundreds of Buddha statues (in a cave no less)and one of the most stunning sets of waterfalls I have ever seen all in one day! Early in the morning we sat upon a boat to observe the mystic Mekong on our way to see the famous Buddha cave in the area. The cave was nice but what I really liked was the stop at the Lao whisky village, apparently in Laos, whisky just isn't whisky unless you have a reptile fermenting in it. On the boat ride back we stopped at a paper making and weaving village. The village makes beautiful paper with leaves and flowers in it to make into lanterns and notebooks, they are so nice that I just had to buy two and I hope that they survive the trip home. The young girls in this village also make scarves and blankets on big looms some have very intricate patterns and take days to make they are so unique I decided that I would help support their community by buying one and it's gorgeous. After four hours in villages and the cave but mostly traveling on the river (on wooden sore bum seats) we came back to town to eat then go off to Kuang Si waterfall which is actually a series of waterfalls cascading over limestone into picturesque turquoise pools, it was idyllic. And if you add that there was a sanctuary for Asian sun bears and a six year old female tiger named Phet, my day was fantastic.
There is something numbingly humbling being in the presence of a Tiger. One of the caretakers was tossing a ball around outside the cage while a group of us watched and suddenly as the ball landed at my feet and Phet pounced from her spot several feet away to the edge of the chain-link fence to the awe of us all to land just three feet from my amazed frozen body. After she was fed, we were even able to pet Phet though this intimidated me a great deal I couldn't resist, tiger fur is very course.
The last village of the day was a Hmong village that sold handicrafts. This was hard though because the children here were under obvious neglect, dirty, some without clothes and encouraged to sell as much as possible to the hundreds of Ferang that stop there everyday en route to or from the waterfall. It pulled my heartstrings. However many of the children still laughed and played and I liked to see that. The end of our very full day was crammed with a stunning sunset that tipped the sea-saw into a day for my memory banks of forever.

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Pac Ou cave, packed with Buddha statues, some hundreds of years old.

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Lao whisky village, mmmmmmm gotta love that snake whisky! Oh yes, they are real.

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Eye of the Tiger
Have you been THIS close to a tiger before? I am one of the fortunate who have (with the help of a zoom lens)

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Impressive Kuang Si waterfall

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Lower Falls, no I unfortunately I didn't have time to go swimming.

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Hmong villager girl

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Anything can be a toy

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Lao night market full of textiles, fisherman's pants, silver jewelry and opium pipes.

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A perfect end to an amazing day

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2 Comments:

At 3:23 PM, Blogger alter ego said...

man you can probably send some of these photos to lonely planet or something of the like..

amazing adventures breanne. *muah*
enjoy every moment of it babe!

 
At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sis,

I hope you tried the snake whiskey..something to tell Umpa about. Hee hee Very cool.

Great shots. Enjoy.
Love
Big Sis

 

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