Location: Murrin Murrin, Australia
Well my adventure in Lao has come to an end. I have mixed feelings about all that has happened in the last 12 months and on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Lao. The place and the people are wonderful and i will never forget the experiences I have had. I will never forget the people that made my time there so much fun.
It is now back to Murrin Murrin for me for a new adventure........
Location: Vientiane, Laos
Well i have just got back from Kuala Lumpur. I went down to visit Kaia and to do some shopping and shopping i certainly did! I know i have been slack but I will be uploading some more photos today from my Cambodia Trip, Long Chieng and Malaysia.
Location: Hong Kong
Yes I have been very slack.
Well since I wrote last way back in April a fair bit has happened. I went home for a bit of a holiday and to be a Bridesmaid at Evans wedding, I went up to Luang Prabang again, survived Giadia and took a trip down to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The trip home was a lot of fun and very hectic to say the least with only a short time to catch up with everyone.
My trip to Luang Prabang was nice and relaxing, I stayed at the resort just outside of town. It had a pool and sala's which virtually overhung the rice paddies and had day beds in them. I spent most of my time there reading, wandering around the wats and drinking awesome mango smoothies.
Unfortunately, on my last morning i came down with Giardia (a nasty stomach bug) and had to travel home feeling like i was about to die. But a visit to the Australian clinic in VTE sorted it out.
A few weeks later I took a trip down to Cambodia with one of the guys from here at work. It was awesome! The Cambodians are a lot more agressive than the Lao but it was lots of fun none the less. It is certainly a place everyone should go too on their way around asia. Words cannot describe the temples! I will do my best to upload some pictures really soon. I also picked up some fabulous rubbings of the carvings on the temple walls.
I am off to Kuala Lumpur next break to visit Kaia which i am really looking forward to as i will get a chance to do some shopping!! Wahoo!!
And last but not least I have some more news. I have decided to head back to Australia. I have resigned from my job and will be most likely to be heading back in mid to late September. It is a bit sad as I have really grown to love Lao but unfortunately the job has not worked out. Well anyway I am sure I will talk to you all very soon and make sure you come and check out some of the photos I will put up on this site in the next day or so.
Miss you all and I will see you soon!!
Hello all and Sock Dii Pii Mai Lao (Good Luck for the Lao New Year).
Well I survived Lao New Year although I got thorougly saturated for three days straight!!! The weekend started with a work Basi which was lots of fun. Apparently it is a "tradition" to wear a Hawaian shirt for Pii Mai - not a long tradition i am guessing so we were all given a very loud orange shirt for the event.
The next day I went for a wander around town and visited a number of the temples where I partook in some Buddah washing and got washed myself. The whole city was out and about throwing water at each other and there was a huge party atmosphere in town. This went on for three days, these Lao know how to party!!
I have uploaded some photos for you!
Well I am back in oz on the 28th and can't wait!! So drop me a line if you want to catch up!!
Well it has been a while since I wrote last. I have not been up to a great deal of exciting travel mostly just work.
However, last break I decided it was time to go down and check out Udon Thani which is about 1 hr over the boarder into Thailand. I caught the international bus down (a huge $2.50 fare) and stayed in a guesthouse which is over a cool Irish Pub with both Guiness on tap and Bundy Rum.
After getting my bearings, holding the map the right way up helps, i found the guesthouse and i was off to check out "the Complex" which is a huge shopping centre, a Thai version of Indooroopilly shopping centre with Robinsons which is a bit like Myer in Australia.
Although there were few clothes and shoes that would fit me, most shoes the biggest size they had was a 6, i managed to do some shopping, mostly things like Clinique which you can't get in Lao.
The food at the Pub was great and I started chatting to these older Pommy guys and a younger Kiwi who is over here assisitng with the sustainable farming of potatoes!
Next day was pretty much recovering from a hangover, shopping and having a quick look at the few sights in Udon.
All and all it was a good trip and it was great to get out of Lao for a few days and relax.
Back at work now, I think my next rtrip will be to Nongkai which is just over the River and it has some good shopping and some nice hotels.
Oh I amlost forgot. You may remember that i mentioned the dog at my unit was pregnant. Well she had 8 very cute little puppies!
Well i hope you are all well.
Stay safe and i will see you when I head back to Oz for a break in May.
Location: Vientiane, Laos
Well What a week it has been!!
Mum and Kirsty arrived last Wednesday and it was great to see them again. Thursday and Friday involved some exploration around Vientiane and some shopping. Then on Friday afternoon after a number of flight time changes we flew up to Xengkhouan and the Plain of Jars. During our trip we flew over the Gold Mine where I work and then got to see all the bomb craters in the hills and paddy fields that resulted from the US bombings that occured during the 70's.
On Saturday morning we went for a tour of Site 1 (Plain of Jars) which was really interesting. Basically there is a heap of big stone jars placed around the area and no one really knows who made them or why. Intermixed with the jars is old trenches and a heap of Bomb vraters. Oh yeah and you don't leave the marked path as there is still a great deal of unexploded ordinances or (UXOs) scattered around the place!! Saturday afternoon consisted of our direct flight to Luang Prabang (LP) being canned (if it ever exisited) so we spend the whole afternoon sitting in un airconditioned airports! I think we all made a sigh of releife when we finally got to LP.
The next 5 days consisted of exploring around LP and its many Wats (temples) and included trips to the big waterfall by Tuk Tuk, a boat trip to the Pak Ou Caves and the highlight was a trip to ride on some elephants. We were even alowed to ride on their necks like the Mahouts do!! Lots of fun.
Night time in LP involved the hard selection from the many resturants scattered across the city and then some shopping in the Night Market - so very very cheap.
Wednesday we got back to VTE and Wednesday and Thursday involved some shoping and lounging around and trying to keep cool!!
I am unfortunately back at work now but it was a wonderful trip. i will definitely be heading back up to both XengKhuan and LP as they are both wonderful places in Lao PDR. I will put some photos up on this page in the next couple of days so you can all have a squiz at what we got up to!
Take Care and I miss you all.
HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY!!!
Hope you had a great Australia Day! I was up at site so was working but I did get to listen to the Tripple J Hottest 100 over the internet.
Jan 26th is Army Day in Lao so they had a big Basi and from what I hear it got very messy!! I was invited to a wedding in Ban Nam Ngone which is the Hmong village just up the road from the mine site. I had not been through the centre of town at night before and it is busy like Northbridge with pubs and 'guesthouses' all over the place.
I went to the wedding looking forward to seeing the bride and groom dressed in the traditional Hmong clothing and a traditional ceremony only to arrive and be told that they were Christian!!! A fairly stange place to find a Christian family, especially as there is not a Church (that I know of) in this part of the country!! When we arrived we were quickly sat down and food was promply served - Sticky Rice and Beef? Larp. L:arp is minced meat with mint, papaya and other herbs mixed through it.
Typical of the villages here, there were heaps of chrildren running around and they were big fans of my camera. I would take a photo and they would all rush in to see themselves on the digital display and then all run back for another one!! I have put some of these photos on this site.
It is only a couple more weeks and Mum and Kirsty are over and I am getting very excitied.
Catch you all later
It has been a little while since I last wrote and I have not really been up to much. Mostly working to get a few extra days of when Kirsty and Mum come over in February. I am very excited as we are going to do some travel around Lao. With a trip up to the Plain of Jars which I am really looking forward to.
The weather is starting to warm up over here with the nights and mornings not being so cold. I even saw a snake near my house in the middle of Vientiane sunning itself!
Vientiane is definitely not like any Australian capital. There are chickens and other animals all over the place and market gardens a short walk from the very center of town. The other day I was hanging out my washing and a herd of cows wandered past my back fence stoped to look at me and kept on going. There is also a few goats that I see near my house as well!
I have well and truly made friends with the dog that lives at my units. I am such a sucker I have bought doggie treats from the local 7/11 to give her. I think she is pregnant so there may be some cute puppies around soon as well.
Well I hope you are all well and hopefully I will have some more exciting news soon!
Location: Site, Laos
I am now back at site after a fairly busy break consisting of mostly eating out at fancy resturants. The food here is amazing. On the first night we went to La Silapa which is a fancy french resturant with food to die for. Best thing is the prices. Being the most expensive resturant in town it cost $30 each for a four course meal with bread, entree, main, desert and a bottle of wine!! yum yum. The next night we had Italian which was also devine! Third night was indian at the Baw Peng Ngang (best views of the Mekong in town) and finally Lao Food on my last night in town. All this food and my clothes are getting tight, but that is Ok as I have been hitting the gym a fair bit as well. I have started to get a bit of a routine going which has helped me settle in better.
I have also found the Lao equivalent of the Kibab on the way home from the pub. It is a pancake with either egg or banana inside cooked on a hot plate with butter and then drizzled with condensed milk and sprinkled with sugar. Heaven!!
I had better go and do some work but look after yourselves and I shall write again soon.
Location: Phu Bia Gold Mine, Laos
Sok Dii Pea Mai
Happy New Year
I hope you all saw the new year in with style. We had a big BBQ up here at the mine with singing and dancing and heaps of beer lao consumed. A few of us managed to finish off a 1ltr bottle of Bundaberg Rum. Lets say my head hurts this morning.
I hope you are all well - Happy New Year and all the best for your 2007.
Location: Phu Bia Gold Mine, Laos
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!
I hope you and your families had a wonderful day and that Santa brought you what you wished for! Christmas was fairly quiet for me seeing it isn't a christian country. On Christmas Eve I went for a bit of an adventure out of town and managed to find Buddha Park. This tourist attraction is a field that is full of concrete Buddha statues. it is about 24km out of town but was really busy. It is also on the banks of the Mekong do it is a fairly nice location. I took a few photos while I was there and will upload them onto this site.
I then caught up with one of the guys from work for Christmas eve drinks at the Baw Peng Ngang, which is a pub on the Mekong. After a bit to eat we then went to the upper class jazz bar - the Jazzy Brick. After the Jazzy Brick we ended the night at the "On the Rock" pub which has a great live band.
Christmas day was fairly quiet and comprised of eating chocolate and watching DVDs!
Back to work today (Boxing Day) and have a heap of work waiting for me!!
Miss you all Heap and Heaps
Well I am back at site again for my last swing before christmas. I had my first break in my unit and so far so good. It is great to be able to not have to go out for brakfast lunch and dinner. Although food is so cheap it is oftern cheaper to eat out.
I also purchaed my very own motorbike on break so I am now mobile. After a few hairy moments I have got used to the bike and the absolute absence of any road rules. Anything goes here! Driving on the wrong side of the road, pulling out without looking and roundabouts are a totally different story. You have right of way onto the roundabout but then you have to giveway to those entering it...man it is crazy!
Over the weekend I went for a bit of a ride out of town and found the most amazing temple. Out the front they had these statues of elephanst and people which were covered in multicoloured refelctive tiles. Even the smallest of villages had amazingly decorated temples! I forgot my camera so I plan to go back to get some photos. Next break i might be heading over the Thai boarder to Udon Tani which has really good shoping, with malls similar to Australia and McDonalds!!
Well I had better head off but will update you soon. look after yourselves.
Location: Phu Bia Minesite, Laos
Late night last night playing poker with some of the guys from work - I managed to clean up so I may not be invited back!
Intersting day today, we had a Basi ceremony here at site. This is where we have Monks come from the Wat in Xaisomboune to bless the site and to please the good spirits. It involves the measuring each of our heads with a chain of candles. These are then all wound together - which simbolises bringing our spirit together and then burnt by the head Monk while the Monks chanted. Then we had water thrown over us - similar to having holy water splashed over us. Finally we had Basi strings tied around our wrists by the head Monk. This is to make sure we have our good spirits with us which will ensure good luck.
Offerings were then given to the Monks and the ceremony was over. It was a realy good experience.
Photos were taken so when I can get some copies I shall put them in the photo pages.
Well until next time, look after yourselves and stay safe.
Location: Phu Bia Gold Mine, Laos
Saa Bai Dee Everyone!
Well yesterday was LAO NATIONAL DAY! To celebrate at site we had our site based soccer competition Grand Final and a BBQ. The game was very close and came down to a penalty shoot out with the Geology Team beating the Drivers/Security Team by a single goal.
Fun was had by all and the Beer Lao was certainly flowing freely! The holiday seaon has started here and it seems like everythings starts to ramp down untill the new year from now on.
Bye for now
Location: Vientiane, Laos
Well I have had a busy few days. It started with a trip back to Vientiane from site in a 30 yr old russian helicopter. We flew over the Ang Nam Ngum which is a big hydro dam downstream of the project. I have up loaded some photos for you to take a look at. Once I was back in Vientiane I met up with the wife (Pui) of one of the guys who works at the mine and went out to dinner. We had a traditional Lao entree - Fried Crikets and Larvae. I have to admit they tasted a lot better than they sound. With entree out of the way I decided to stick to falang (foreigner) food and had a pizza!
The next day Pui took me house hunting and I have found a small apartment to live in for now. I have attached some photos of that as well. All I need are some curtains on the front sliding door (apparently privacy is not a big thing over here) and i am all good to go! Next break i am off to get a motorbike!
Well I hope you are all well!
Hi There! Well I have been in Laos for just over a month now and although I have emailed many of you I though this would be the best way to stay in touch. So have a look around the site and feel free to leave me a message!
Work is going well and I am slowly learning some of the Lao language. Many of the Environmental Team are Hmong, a highland ethnic group in Lao which speak another language totally so I really have to learn 2 languages! Seeing I have no language skills I have to say this one of the biggest challenges I am facing - so far!
I have added some photos from my time on site and my adventures around Vientiane with more to come so - watch this space!
Well I had better run.
Miss you all