Travel Time-Flux Capacitor Style

Travel Time-Flux Capacitor Style

Well the 4 flights it took to arrive on the other side of the world was moderately treacherous. I think it was the 7 hour layover in Doha that did us in. . . which p.s. Did not exist when I purchased the ticket- however 2 weeks before our flight I was sent an updated itienary from the airline. Doha is one of the younger and richest capitols in the world-capital of Qatar the Arabian peninsula in the middle east. The architecture of the city looks incredible built around a vibrant blue bay but only viewable by photos and Internet for everytime we inquired about leaving the airport we were met with the phrase, “Not Possible” although we hear the city is quite safe.

So we hung out in the most deluxe duty-free of all time selling cameras, Lap tops, and yes, luxury cars. At one point I went to the bathroom and it has this dressing room style mirrored corridor and about 30 Qatar stewardesses were all sitting on the counters with their burgundy hats, burgundy blouses, burgundy ascots, doing their charcoal make-up and all giggling like girls in high school. I wanted to take their photo so bad-but when I asked they said they are not allowed to be photographed in uniform-so may my mental photo serve you well.They were so cute!

We flew from
Doha to Singapore (and man oh man do I wish my layover was there instead). If you are ever flying on this part of the world I highly encourage you to spend some time at the Singapore Chaingi airport. Free leg massages, butterfly garden, cactus garden, movie theater, game station, Internet stations and if you have a layover longer then 5 hours they will even take you on a free tour of Singapore!! Sadly our 3 hour layover was shortened to a 30 minute layover on our updated itinerary but I hope we get some extra time there on our return flight.

From Singapore to Indonesia the flight is only 2.5 hours and we landed in the middle of an epic sunset onto the magickal island of Bali. Airport procedures went smoothly and Justin and I negotiated a cheap cab outside of the airport walls to Ubud-our final destination for the day. Initially we were to arrive at 1pm but that unexpected change in flight put us here at 7pm so by the time we got out of the airport it was already dark. Even then the city of Depensar was alight with totems, sculptures, and fountains as motor bikes came racing past us. The drive took a long time-like an hour and a half? Justin and I were both drifting in and out of sleep from our grand time zone tour and I barely even noticed it was pouring rain. Next time I opened my eyes there was moss and roots hanging from high off branches dripping with rain as we made twists and turns through this mountainous pass. Monkey pillars and hand laid brick roads were noted. We didn’t have a place to stay worked out but also thought we’d have daylight to deal with it- and neither of us expected to be so out of it-so we eventually just had the taxi driver pull over and started to look for a room. Each guest house had a sign, accompanied by a small alleyway that led deep back behind the street with gardens and ponds and frogs and sculptures and masks. I’ve had my fair share of turning up in cities in the middle of the night and it usually proves to be a pretty sketchy scenario- but. . . not here. The city had an ancient wisdom with it’s 2 ft tall curbs and sidewalks, and immediately, even in the dark and the rain, an intricate beauty seeped from every archway. Elegant details were etched in every stone. The second place we stopped at was good enough for me. I was so exhausted I didn’t even rally for dinner or a trip to the store for water and goods. Laying horizontal was my prime objective. Successful, i passed out cold and have now awoken in the middle of the night-which has allowed me to share this detailed account with you all* 😉 I have no idea what time it is but knowing me and my 6 hour sleep cycle I’m assuming it’s about 3 am. I stepped outside onto our huge porch overlooking hand made roof tiles that slide down to a beautiful water garden amongst an orchestra of frogs, gekos, bats, crickets, and dogs. Every now and them I hear a rooster, but know it must be confused. A bug dive bombed me when I walked outside and I quickly and delightfully realized it was a dragonfly-which happens to be my spirit animal and I always take as a sign that I’m in the right place and it has sat above me this whole time while I type this 😉 -I never really see them at night either-so today-it’s extra special. 😉

Okay well thanks for reading and I look forward to enchanting you with stories to come.



Following the epic wedding of Stefan and KJ a clown car of us piled in and headed south down to Tulum-a beautiful sea town with aqua waters and rich in Mayan history. The sand on the beaches is soft and white, shade is findable and the water is the most inviting temperature I have found yet. Crystal clear, fresh water or salt, your toes are always visible. Lizards and birds of every size, color, and style thrive here and make up the orchestra of your surroundings amongst the coconuts and the mangroves. Also in some parts of Mexico dogs out number humans 7 to 1!! So don’t be surprised by lots of roaming pooches.

We stayed at a lovely place called Yoga Shala. Our room was circular, open air, and tall with a thatched roof and a big cozy clean bed under the towering and dream like white mosquito net right across from the ocean. We could hear the waves from our bed. They offer over 20 yoga classes a week and have free wifi. Bicycles and breakfast are also available for an extra fee.

Karma Cafe opened during our stay here and became a quick favorite. It’s just in front of Yoga Shala and offers the best coffee I found during my entire stay in Mexico. Laura, the friendly and accommodating host at Karma Cafe has been combing the region for the best blend of local roasted beans and her hard work has definitely paid off- A triple bean blend offering rich and tasty medium bodied coffee that will put the other weak, charred, or nescafe coffee options up and down the coast to shame. Karma Cafe also offers delicious eggs, croissants, fresh fruit, and home made veggieburgers. Great for a yummy affordable morning treat or to take away and have a good snack at the beach. Her prices are appropriate and there is nothing else like this beautiful little grove with tree swing seating and mirrored sparkle decor floating in the trees around you anywhere else in Tulum. It was an inviting alternative, especially once you see that every menu around you offers food half as good for twice as much. I think they will do quite well and wish this lil outdoor cafe the best. If ever in Tulum pay them a visit!

Mexico is well known for it’s caves and Tulum, specifically, for its cenotes!! Cenotes ( pronounced si-note-ay’s) are cave systems full of water that you can swim in!!! We visited a few but the Gran Cenote was my favorite-again with this clear aqua water-but now under water with stalactites and stalagmites!! And turtles and fish. When you first see some of the cenotes it kind of just looks like a hole in the ground –but the real magick is under the surface, bring or rent some snorkel gear, and suddenly this shallow pond is actually a great deep wide expanse stretching well beneath the earth. Take a deep breath, dive down, and you are now in an underwater paradise. So amazing!!

Bus is a good way to get around Mexico-we got a first class bus (with a movie) straight from Tulum to the airport in cancun (2hrs) for 15 bucks-or you can arrange a private cab for $70 usd.

The prices in Tulum are definitely soaring. Most budget accommodation is around $40-50 bucks a night – and varies greatly from moist shacks and tents on the beach to comfortable bungalows. There are LOTS of higher end places available if you want to pay more. I personally, growing up in Texas, was amazed by how expensive Mexico has become- sure the area I was in is a bit touristy and yes decent and authentic tacos can be found for 2-3 bucks, but you really had to dig. Most restaurants dinner prices along the water start at $12-14 a plate and can go as high as $60. Our crew did find an amazing flautas restaurant in town where we were served straight up in someones house. It was good and cheap and almost all of us ordered seconds and thirds. I was appalled by the airport prices though-I’m usually prepared for the shock of the inflated airport situation but cancun airport was RIDICULOUS!! $16 usd for a burrito? $14usd for a subway sandwhich? $20 usd for nachos? Adios Mexico! I sucked it up and ate at my connection in the USA in route to Bali-my $6 loaded baked potato the size of my face was well worth the wait and the price. It was also such a treat to use an ATM and not have to pay an extra $5 to take money out too* Bless America! Lol But I’ll have to catch up with her in May cause this girl is headed off to Indonesia with my love to dive head first into Balinese culture, food, art, dance -and yes, of course, The Ocean!!!


¡Viva Mexico!

I left Cambodia and spoiled myself by returning to my favorite lil
Jungle beach island in the south of Thailand for a few days before enduring the cascade of transportation en route to Mexico. I took a taxi boat to a motor bike to a 4 hour ferry to a 9 hour bus to two hours in the airport and then proceeded to fly from Bangkok to Tokyo to LA to Cancun (26 hours). The last 4 hours were the longest, but it was all worth it for the amazing times I was ready to endure next.

Justin, my sweet and long lost boyfriend, and I were reunited in the Mexican baggage claim ¡Aye aye aye! ¡¡¡Yay!!! We stayed in this really nice mission jungle style old school hotel that was super beautiful and quaint in cancun and the Next day took a bus to the Valentin Maya Resort to attend our good friends KJ and Stefan’s wedding. It was $90 usd to take a cab there from the airport but Justin and I ended up staying right near the bus station and got tickets for $3 each (score)- I even nicely asked the driver to drop us as close to the hotel as possible and he stopped right at the front gate.

The very fancy all inclusive resort did not know what to think when their next two guests walked up from the main road-backpacks and hula hoops in tow. I think they thought we were in the wrong place but after a lot of smiles and bad Spanish they finally sent a car to drive us into the main section of the property.

We were greeted by bellboys and bubbling champagne as our friends from NYC slowly and steadily began to fill and take over this entire fancy shmancy resort. The arch ways were 100 ft in the air and every portion of the property was a great expanse. It was a super blast of a weekend and what a treat for me to see so many good friends after being away for two months time. Despite being on holiday it was no doubt a NYC weekend with a NYC pace. We had a Dia de Los Muertes Noche where we all dressed up,

Photo by Christopher Hardwick

including the families of the bride and the groom, we had a giant flotilla made of outrageous pool floats (swans, clams, tires, double headed serpents, couches) in the pool filled with all our friends festive faces as we motored around to the swim up bar and back again and again and again. One guest even confided i me that her float, not blown up, weighed 9 lbs!! We swum in the crystal aqua ocean, body boarded, I rode on the waves on a huge white swan float. Our room was I.N.C.R.E.D.I.B.L.E. With king sized bed, balcony, living room area, and bathroom with separate hot tub, bath, and a shower-and every day when room service made our bed fresh flowers were placed on our pillows. Afterhours at the honey moon sweet overlooked this nature preserve and these fairytale-esque deep blue birds with yellow beaks and yellow feet would hang out near us in the tree tops. Iguanas were EVERYWHERE too and are so well camouflaged-until they began reaching their sunning heads into the sky. There were lemurs too!

Photo by Rachel Moore

The ceremony itself was so touching and beautiful. KJ and Stefan were married by 8 of their friends representing the 8 pillars of marriage in place of an officient. Justin and I were the flower boy and flower girl. . . ON STILTS!!!!! Which was a surprise for all and went over really well. Plus, i have always secretly wanted to be a flower girl so i was genuinely stoked when they asked us. I finished my dress while traveling through Laos and it was super fun to wear! Total enjoyment and whimsy washed over me as Justin and I covered the ceremonial space and all the guests in fresh rose petals at sunset.

Photo by Jolly Norton

Cocktail hour and Dinner were lovely and each table got to light and send off the 3ft thai firelanterns into the sky -but only after we wrote our wishes on them. What a glorious sight.

The reception was rocking and went all night-which I expect nothing less from this group. So Fun!!!! And I was part of a two hour fire show that we all rocked out thanks to jewels finding gasoliña blanca. It was so rewarding to be reunited with my fire fans while smallchange dropped some whompy dubstep to rock out to and so fun to spin with so many of my friends. Super deluxe!!

Photo by Rachel Moore

The whole wedding weekend was beyond your wildest dreams-from epic beach and pool days to dancing well into the night and morning with 150 of your closest friends to celebrate the love, trust, respect, and honor the amazingness in the well deserving bride and groom, KJ and Stefan, but it was also a celebration of friends, friendships and the unique love and relationships between us all. All laughing together under the sun, piña colodas in hand, creating the important ripple of one good thing leading to another all weekend long. It was a total love fest that will be felt for years to come.

As you can imagine it was hard to leave this collective place in time but Jim got the “Mexican Limo” and we piled a whole clown crew into that bitch, luggage and all, and rode on down to Tulúm where we have spent the last week.

I don’t think the Valentin Maya quite knew what they were in for, but as we left the bellhop was inquiring about our globy look. The lil fiberoptic lights you can clip into your hair. He was so pleased as I gifted one onto his safari bell hop hat and at that moment we all knew this place had been changed forever.

Photo by Jan von Light

Siem Reap

Lolol i have tried to post thus blog 5 times- soon it will happen. Enjoy.

Wow I really wasn’t expecting siem reap, Cambodia to include so much sparkly and cute. I found a store today that sells jars of wishes that light up when you shake them and have little scrolls that you can use to make a paper star! And I found a second hand store that was full of all these elaborate hand made dresses. I’m sadly a lil bigger than your average Cambodian so even my favs were a bit small. But that did not stop the so cute lil gay Cambodian boy from running out from the shower in a towel to check the seams and let me know he could alter it just right. I felt at home in their shop full of sewing machines and sequins.

Cambodians are really friendly on the whole, with big smiles and a jokster attitude. Thrir culture gas a lot of flavor. The young ones are super fashionable-even their billboards are hot with Asian girls with white hair and pink eyes doing cute things. The boys all have gravity defying haircuts shooting out from the front short around the crown and sticking out from the bottom. Somewhere between futuristic and emo. They dress fairly European or Japanese-guys in stripey tight fitting dress shirts, slacks, and pointy shoes in bright colors. And everyone is really friendly!! It always amazes me how one nice interaction can totally turn my day around or skew my interpretation of a place. It also reminds me to be nice and friendly- because perhaps I too may turn their day around or be their only impression of what an “American” or “New Yorker” or “Texan” is. At the end of the day I’d like to just think that I’m setting a good example every day, no matter where I am in the world, of being a good “human being” and that this nicety will become globally contagious.

I’m glad I am from
NYC though otherwise siem reap could be a little overwhelming- at least the downtown part. So many clubs, vehicles, markets, it’s a busy busy busy place. Driving around feels like you are in a videogame- two actual lanes on the road, like 4-6 lanes of traffic driving in all directions, motorbikes, tuk-tuks pulled by motorbikes, small people riding huge bicycles with 3 kids piled on them, big people riding tiny bicycles, 5 at a time on mopeds, trucks, cars, buses, double decker buses, push carts- it’s like frogger or actually it reminds me of those lil miniature ice skating ponds-the kind you put in fake model Christmas village set-ups that have magnets underneath them moving the skaters in perfect intricate interweaving patterns seamlessly between one another. It feels like being a hockey puck-being darted around- on one of those. Lol. It is fascinating.

Today I spent making my way through Angkor Thom and tracing the long and wild history of the Khmer empire.

Tomorrow I get up super early to meet my guide at 5 am to see the sunrise over Angkor wat-then after some temple exploring my guide offered to take me up the mountain to see the Angkor carvings deep in the riverbed. I may or may not go pending the weather. It’s an hour and a half by motorbike. We will see.

Okay I have a super early day tomorrow so- over and out!



Sitting upon a crumbled empire that has changed so many hands, heard so many prayers, soaked in so much blood. A cultural piecemeal of ancient wisdom and ancient blunder. Slipping foot holds from century number one.

Reminiscing ancient past is like walking backward through your own history as well-primary comparison begins with experience, moves forward to knowledge, and then expands to imagination.

Impermanence. Despite these stones-hauled by elephants-stacked by physics-and resiliently lasting throughout the elements for over a thousand years they too will eventually crumble to dust, as their inhabitants did so long ago. I sit at the fountain-this ancient hospital with a separate pond in each direction representing the element: an elephant for the water, a horse for the wind, a lion for fire and a man for the earth. An astrologer sat here long ago guiding people to each pool to bring them wellness and balance. And now I sit here and watch the fish break the surface eating the bugs and again I think about impermanence as each of the little bugs is devoured away. Poof. Exit life. Nobly, they go, at least becoming food and energy for something else, passing their energy on. Thinking about how at any moment for any of us it could be game over for life as we know it. You may not even see it coming- one minute you are joyfully floating on the water and then- you’re not.

The children I meet inside the temple follow me giggling pointing out their secret hiding spots. They have this epic landscape as their jungle gym and they have barely heard of America and do not know of a place called New York.

My guide is 38 years old. He has never been on an airplane. He says “I was born in siem reap, I live in siem reap, and I will die in siem reap.” the Cambodian people on a whole are quite lovely, despite some of the imagery this writing may create, with beautiful smiles and charming ways. Content with so little for so long, despite ongoing history of fighting for what is theirs and having their thousands of sculptures and laborious carvings beheaded and destroyed by infiltrating regimes for centuries upon centuries of existence.

I kind of feel lost in a fairytale. Sitting in the land that time forgot-but it’s all there-written in stone-as the earth continues to grow around it. The trees push through and pour over these barrier walls that have since resigned from their duty.

Countless hours spent chiseling away at stone. I can’t even fathom what it would take to make one panel of these ruins, let alone an empire.

Long tendrils of trees drip down into the earth and I’ve been hearing and enjoying the traditional khmer band play as I walk to each temple transporting time and space- but then you look up and they have no arms, no legs, their faces are deformed and you see their sign. They are all land mine victims-all of them- every band on every cardinal direction of every temple- every single one of them. And sure- we are jaded of beggars, to the point where many of us don’t even reach out to the people that actually need us and need the help. At some of the temples I even shamefully refrained from buying things I actually was interested in secondary to being afraid of what would happen if I actually pulled money out-people are really in your face with their goods, stepping in place of where your next step will be, closer than your own shadow. Ladies whispering into your collar bones-it’s all you can do to be polite and say “no thank you” which was maybe worse than saying nothing at all. I followed my guides lead-he says nothing and let’s it pass. Then after the last devastated kingdom I was able to witness- full of trees growing through stone and epic faerytale visions- something happened to me. I have spent the last two days envisioning this entire history unfold before me, after me, and through me, reliving a glimpse with every rise and fall of my breath- and I passed the upteenth Khmer band I’ve passed in the past two days- and- I read their sign. It said something to the effect of: we have all been injured by land mines. We are not beggars. We are dignified people doing talented things to support our children, our families, and ourselves.

And I just. started. crying. just like I am again right now, and I thought how horrible am I- I can’t even give a measly fucking dollar to these people that are seriously living in dirt floor houses and eating the leaves out of the trees to survive -who have lost their limbs, likely due to mines my fucking country left in their backyards, and trying out of dignity to play a song for a fucking dollar and I turn my nose at them all day long. Slowly and silently Sobbing I reach into my bag and pull out some money and go back and put it in their tray. They kindly bow their head and say thank you and I walk on experiencing true humility, and as I walk down this red dusty dirt pathway lined with trees and butterflies of every size and color swirling in and out of my vision and pull my sunglasses down to cover the tears on my face I’m surrounded by adorable children desperately trying to sell me things I don’t want 3 for $1, 4 for a $1, books nice books$1, pants $1, and I try not step on them as they run under my feet predicting my every move, and my guide sits silently on his bike and turns it on without saying a word and I climb over all the jumping children and mount the bike as he asks if I had a good time, did I like it, and I silently nod yes and we ride down the street. It’s 3 in the afternoon and I have been looking at temples since 5 am and I’m done and I’m tired and I say- okay back to the guest house please and then it all comes full circle- you now go to the lake?, go to the temple?, go to the market?, go to. . . And the same rhythmn sets in as all the lil girls trying to sell me their goods the words don’t even matter as they trail into the spiraling explosion that is my mind…and I realize why he was so quiet and that he is just a bigger fish in the same pond and has more expensive wares-but in the end “same same but different” and tears just started streaming down my face as we drive away and i just keep both my hands on the motorbike and let the wind wipe them down and off my face. Feeling unbelievable release and horrendous guilt, all at the same time, broken down back to the basics, that kind of crying that makes you feel like you finally came clean– all at once i just cried, silently, into the wind all the way back to the guest house, calmly telling him, no I’m done, it’s time for me to go back. And 3 times I noticed him move his hand from the steering wheel and wipe his face and couldn’t help but wonder-if he was crying to – because I couldn’t go any further, I couldn’t bring him
more commission, that I needed to be done. Even as I write this I am turning my guide away as he tries to offer me more information and take me somewhere else-and I’m thankful for this experience. I’m thankful for this opportunity, I’m thankful for this opening, I’m thankful for this moment and all the moments I’ve had the ability to experience before this moment and all the moments to come.

Laos Time

Laos. Laos has an amazing duality to it. An old world city full of rural life dotted with a few cities. Some areas have paved roads. I loved the markets in Luang Prabang I really enjoyed sitting on the blankets with the hillstribe people gently passing the calculators back and forth til we found a “lucky number” for them and myself. The had lil wicker baskets close to the ground to sit upon and admire goods and haggle. Once you made your purchase they’d thwack every pile of goods on their blanket with the
Money blessing it for good luck and more money to come. A few times I “make show” with my hula hoops for a better deal-specifically if it was something I really wanted and just wanted a fair price. You have to really be on your game though here, their money is thoroughly confusing and 1000 Kip looks suspiciously like the 10000 Kip and people will try to rip you off every chance they get. Even at the exchange I busted the girl for shorting me 18,000 Kip but of course this was my last transaction in town so lord knows how many times this happened to me before then and went unnoticed. Smile pretty, watch your back.

I actually have been trying to leave Laos for 3 days but their joke that Laos-PDR (peoples democratic republic-which is communist-go figure) stands for “please don’t rush” has really rang true. Lol. I could have stayed in Luang Prabang til the end of the week for the next opportunity to get to Cambodia -or I could take a night bus to Vientiene and leave for Cambodia in the morning-so I took that option. It’s interesting how segregated they keep the tourists. When my tuk-tuk picked me up to take me to the bus station they drove down this dirt road I hadn’t noticed before and suddenly an entirely new city emerged before my eyes with food markets galore and shops and surely at a third of the cost. They double booked my bus and I think I only got a seat because the ticket man thought I was pretty. He kept looking at me, at my ticket, and then at the list, only to find that my seat number was taken and my name no where to be found-he scratched something out and put my name in it’s place. Later he boarded the bus for an opportunity to tell me how beautiful i was. The other people on my tuk-tuk announced they had been shafted and had to take another bus along with about 30 other people. Perhaps they are the ones that lucked out though- as our VIP bus, whose luggage compartment harbored everything from bags to motorcycles to chickens crowing–all morning from underneath us echoing through the bus lolololol. It was a long night through twisted jagged and vertically bursting mountain ranges on this small road illuminated by the barely waning full moon in this very large double decker bus sliding backwards down hills (seriously) and chugalugging the whole way. At one point I woke up and the bus was stopped-I quickly fell back asleep, I awoke perhaps an hour and a half later and we were still stopped-I thought perhaps the driver was tired, perhaps he needed a nap-but everyone with the bus company was awake and I could here the familiar sound of tools being tossed on the ground–we had broken down.
But the Laos man had something going for him, shoulder deep in engine grease he worked his magic and within another hour the bus started up and we continued on our way- our 9 hour bus ride turned into a 14 hour busride but in the end I made it to Vientiene safe and sound.

By tomorrow this time I will ideally by in Siem Reap and ready to take in the astounding sight of Angkor Wat and Angkor Tom.

I still find evolution a bit of a conundrum in this part of the world. There is something so priceless in these villages untouched by industrialism – you want them to remain untainted – but at the same time you want more for the people. Coming from somewhere where running water and electricity is standard along with paved roads and education- but at what cost are these elements applied. And what is it about the human condition that makes all of us enter somewhere new and want to make it into something else. We want to make everything “better” but who says our way is truly a better way? From Alexander the great to hitler to Obama to your own brothers and sisters-who’s call is better than anyone elses. What is it inside us that makes us want to conquer and change the very things we came to see. This concept has been reeling through my mind every step of the way as I try to consciously tred lightly and take everything in for what it’s worth rather than having expectations and only seeing what I want to see or forcing things into a mold of what I prefer.

Lifestyle differences

I really enjoy that through all if SE Asia rarely will a guest house or hotel take reservations. They don’t ask you for how long you ll stay, you just turn-up, find an open room, and stay until your done-I learned this fresh off the plane as Telah and I stayed an extra night in Bangkok and I was trying to pay for an extra night–the people at the desk were like “No-the room
Is yours til you no longer stay.” I can’t imagine America functioning like that- we all book our rooms months in advance and plan out every single detail all the time-that’s how our system works. I have thoroughly enjoyed the low key pace and non obligatory day-to-day around here. So nice! Some places will take same day reservations -if they have a phone you can call and check. However-its kind of nicer to see what you ae getting roped into.

I’ve spent the last few days frolicking in this epic faerie mermaid waterfall here in Luang Prabang -so worth it!! Super refreshing and so beautiful!!
It’s about an hour from town and through the most amazing farm lands mountains and fields.

The goods here are all unique and hand crafted-they definitely have their own Laos flavor including lots of huge silver chest pieces and headpieces from the hilltribes.

Right now I’m staying in this big old Laos house run by two Laos families. The floors are a single layer of wood and the roof is thatched bamboo. I really enjoy thinking about all the families that have occupied this space over time. Laos culture is very communal, usually 10-15 people to a place and they share everything- all meals are communal water is communal- everything. They are a very sharing people.

Okay tonight I take a night bus to Vientiene-the capitol of Laos.

Til next time!

Slow Boat Scam on the way to Luang Prabang

Travelers Beware: when taking the slow boat to Luang Prabang -once you cross the border and get shuttled to the last waiting point the man that runs the show there gives a great big speech on how he wants you to love Laos and that at the over night stop on the slow boat their are only 4 guest houses with 11 rooms and that you need to book with him in advance. He is lying. There are plenty of rooms at a third of the price when you get to the stop over. He will also tell everyone there is no ATM at the stop over (which is true) and then that the closest ATM is back at the border he just shuttled you from but he will offer to help you out and exchange your money ( but does it at 1035 Kip per dollar less then the going rate).

I walked half a block and found a western union that doesn’t even charge a fee for exchanging cash (go right and right and stay to the left of the fork) — I waited and got a room at the stop over for 100 baht–but people that booked with him paid 500 baht for the same room. About 75% of the people in our group exchanged money and booked accommodation with him through his scare tactics. So if you are going to Laos via the slow boat from Pai, Chiang Mai, or Chiang Rai (which is a lovely trip) and are doing your homework I hope you find this notice. Please feel free to link or copy and paste it onto other travelers.

Cheers and happy adventures!!

Luang Prabang

Three days traveling and I have now arrived down and across the Mekong River into Luang Prabang, Laos. A place that you could not reach by road until the 1990’s, a place where the average working person makes less than $1 a day, a country that has been devastated yet carries on working toward a brighter future. In the late 60s early 70s America dropped over a million bombs on laos-I imagine trying to get the vietnamese along the Ho Chi Minh Trail-however only 60% of the bombs detonated –leaving fields and fields of ticking time bombs for anyone playing, farming, or walking by. Removing these bombs is expected to take over a hundred years.

We took the slow boat here, which has been the main mode of transportation for hundreds of years to Laos-PDR (which the locals joke stands for Please Dobt Rush). It took one day of driving 120km an hour on twisty curvy roads and two full days on water through the mountains on a big ole long slow boat. My favorite spot on the boat is up at the front-sitting on bags of rice under a bamboo mast with the Laos flag flying high above us. The boat is maneuvered with a steering wheel and people using 20 ft bamboo poles to push off rocks and other boats to lessen the impact when pulling over.

I loved watching the tribes in the river cleaning their fish, doing laundry, lil kids running down the banks and jumping into the water. There were many times we d pull up into a village and families and chickens, gallons of fuel for generators, and various market goods would be tossed on board. Water buffalo bathing in the sun and cooling off in the water spotted the land. The water line from monsoon seasons past was well beyond 50ft above us on the rocks. Such a wild and untouched place. It makes you realize what earth was like before civilization became a popular trend.

I arrived just as the sun sunk behind the mountains blasting rays of sherbert pink sun off into the sky. Laos was a French colony for a while so there are super yummy baked goods everywhere!! Sap sap sap (yum yum yum)!!! Croissants, cakes, chocolate, downtown Luang Probang looks like a little French town and even the guesthouse I’m staying at feels more European than Asian. Walking through town we found a night market, mostly run by Hmong Hilltribe folks, and the. A small alleyway had some food stalls– once I turned the corner I saw that it was hundreds of food stalls!!! Fresh cooked food galore!! And pigged out on yummy vegetables I’ve never seen before for 5,000 kip( ~80 cents) and fresh rolls which are appearing more and more the closer we get to Vietnam.

The whole city has a midnight curfew so the bars close at 1130pm to get everyone home in time. Which was kind of nice since everyone in pai is up til 6am every night. Also after traveling all that way I was pretty tired.

The main alcohol here is Lao Lao a cheap local rice whiskey that’s “at least 50% alcohol.” I had a super yummy coconut drink they make with it–it was awesome. I also learned about this really great project for sponsoring Laos children for education. The laid goverberment is only 16 years old- probably younger than most people reading this blog. A big focus for them is education. You can learn more about their education system here
There was a great organization listed on the wall where I was earlier where for $50 you can sponsor a Laos child to go to school for one year including supplies ( which are in great scarcity ) but I’m not able to find it through google so I will add it next time I see it around town.

Today I look forward to taking a tuk tuk an hour up the mountain and lounging and hooping at the multi-tiered clear pool waterfall at the top and then visiting the beautiful temple on the top of the hill in the middle of town for sunset.

Tomorrow perhaps the caves with ancient buddhas in them!

The adventure continues!! Much love and thanks for reading.

Bye Pai!

Pai is a pretty special place. Tucked away along the river a place where people come and go and stay. Lil shops, handmade goods, lots of smiles and friendly hellos-yummy street food from lil puffed black rice tortilla s with sweet milk and sesame wrapped in a banana leaf, mooya-a pork sausage marinated in lime chilli sauce, lil custards, so many yummy treats. Waterfalls, hot springs, elephants, and every night a party and multiple Bon fires–secret farms in the jungle and sunset scooter rides.

The older Thai man that runs my guest house has been here for many many years-last night when I got home he was carving diligently on one of the beams of his bungalow-a work he says that is never finished. He told me about how his grandmother used to put out an open jar at sunrise and all the Mosquitos would fly inside she’ d then cover it and place it in the sun- once they all died she would feed them to the fish -at this point his eyes welled with tears and he sat there with me crying. It was touching. So nice for him to share his stories with me about his grandma.

I have a long journey ahead of me for the next three days. In an hour I board a bus that takes me to the Thai-Laos border and in the morning we cross over and then board a slow boat that goes down the Mekong River for a day and a half and then another bus and I’ll arrive in Luang Probang by 5pm-two days from now. I have two new books and a dress to sew by hand so I think I’ll be kept busy in the mean time* I was going to have a dress made I’m Thailand for $180 but then I found all the fabric I needed for $10 soooo I have made it my new project. All afternoon I’ve gone around town collecting beads, ribbons, needles and thread ($3)to help me along. It will be nice to have something fruitful to work on.

After Laos I was going to head to Cambodia but that really depends on how the current border dispute goes. Some tanks and soldiers are hanging around and I prefer to go no where near them. Lol. We will see.

Telah went back to NYC and we have had some good fun-but from here out I’m headed off alone but I’m sure I’ll meet some friendly people wrong the way.

Much love, creation, and adventure to all of you.