A Cave Too Far

After some much-needed recovery time in Vang Vieng, we catch a morning minibus to Luang Prabang.

Although it isn’t a very long bus by our standards, it is probably one of the worst; the road to Luang Prabang is slow and winding to a nauseating extent. It is a mere 185km, but it takes us all day aboard the most uncomfortable bus I have ever had the displeasure of placing my ass.

Still, when we arrive we stroll through the night market and check into a lovely little guest house by the river. The next day, we break our fast at a wonderful little bakery and spend the day taking in the many sights of the city, starting with Mount Phousi, a hill in the middle of the town with some very nice views.

Based on my small amount of research, the accepted way to review Mount Phousi is as follows;

“It takes some time to get to the top, but keep on going because the views are worth it.”

It’s 339 steps. Unless you are 85 years old, physically disabled or entirely pathetic it is no harder than using the London Underground. Yet the views are definitely worth it:

View 3

We decided it was too hot to wander around the museum, so we headed to the other side of the town to take in the spectacular Wat Xieng Thong (Golden City Temple).

It is at this point I feel the need to admit to something. Despite the existence of a few popular local caves and waterfalls, we didn’t venture out to any of them…and in no way does that bother me.

I don’t mean to sound aloof, because I have absolutely no right to be. However, between Vikki and me, we have seen more caves and waterfalls than we can even remember; frankly, we just couldn’t summon up the interest to visit yet more.

Sometimes, you see, I find myself doing too much when I travel. There are always a limitless number of interesting things to occupy me, but I occasionally realise I am doing many of these things because I obliged to take an interest in them – rather than because I actually care.

It may sound somewhat philistinistic of me, but sometimes I’d rather just sit and drink a coffee or read a book than visit yet another museum of ragged clothes and fading photos. It’s not that I’m not interested in caves with statues of Buddha in them, but I’ve just seen so many of them

I travel because I enjoy the total freedom – the freedom to do what I want, even if that is nothing at all. In Luang Prabang, whilst other people rode abused elephants, sought small waterfalls and visited a cave full of discarded Buddha statues, we ate cake and looked at pictures of tattoos online.

It was wonderful.

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About the Author
Ed Gamester is a silly man who lives in the United Kingdom. He is the harbinger of Ghost Squad, singer of Gay Bum and author of A Rum Run Awry. He fights, kills and dies for TV and films, and gallivants around the place wrestling, drinking and lifting things for glory and profit. Where Ed treads, there stamp the boots of the Guild. Ed does not wear glasses, but feels this photograph makes him look more intelligent and artistically talented than he is. Feel free to contact him: he is disappointingly affable.

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