Note: this blog post deals (unfortunately) with a lot of people being sick. No graphic or descriptive imagery or photo evidence. Just the word puke a lot.
It was a really difficult couple of days in Laos. Our first couple of days in this beautiful interesting country were fantastic. We had a weird but joyous night out that involved midnight bowling with friends from the slow boat and we explored interesting temples and walked across bamboo bridges and poked around the (very touristy) town of Luang Prabang. This is how I choose to remember our time in Luang Prabang.
Unfortunately, disaster struck. It began with a curse placed on us by Khammany (sp.? doesn’t deserve to be known) hostel that shames the name of hostel. This is the place your relatives warned you about. Now, I’ve stayed in some very questionable places (health and safety code wise) but I truly believed I would never encounter a place that I actually couldn’t stay in. Hanna and I retreated the following morning having not slept a wink horrified by the putrid smell of sewage, the floors covered in used ear plugs no locks and the beds that were really just a metal frame with a piece of paper on it. (Hanna: “I think there were ants in my bed.”) Never pay 4 USD kids, splurge and spend 6 and be a Queen.
She ate the street fruit.
and then she puked all night.
and then she slept all day and I kind of thought she was going to die as I delivered water to her bedside.
I was going to have her write a guest post about her experience but she was too busy puking in the street.
We missed our van to Vang Vieng and stayed another night in Luang Prabang which was no problem because I homesteaded some coffee shops and learned about Laos buddhism! Did you know that monks can choose how long they want to serve? Most do it just for 3-10 years to give their parents good luck. Quite interesting.
The curse continued because although Hanna began to recover she was still not necessarily better and I slowly started to feel sick myself. Whereas her illness was abrupt mine was a slow descent into abominable pain that has torn and shredded my GI in ways that are impossible to describe. I know these things are not related but I’m blaming it on the curse of Khammany and the worst van ride I’ve ever encountered. The 6 hours from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng stuffed into a mini van with way too many people in it on a makeshift chair (literally) and woman puking behind us as we weaved through ‘roads’ that were mostly potholes and honked while whipping around blind corners. It was made even worse because I knew in 2 days I was going to have to get back in the van and do it again.
Vang Vieng is a neat place but both Hanna and I were feeling still pretty miserable and weak for most of our time there except for a three hour period where I rallied myself enough to go in a very cheap hot air balloon ride.
Hanna and I both grew basically desperate to leave this country and this period of our travels behind. It’s unfortunate because I don’t want to feel this way about Laos but it’s tarnished now ever so slightly by the illness we both picked up there. Sometimes that happens in travel in fact I was surprised her and I had already traveled a month without any illness from street food. We rallied. We came back from it. But the curse of Khammany revealed itself in other insidious ways as it’s final parting gift from Laos. Our dirtbag travel choice (still cannot believe I survived this) to take a bus from Luang Prabang to Hanoi, Vietnam…for 25 hours.