Saturday 27th of December 2014 and the stairs was not so bad, the French passengers were shocked when I ran up the stairs to get ahead for some pictures. Yeah, the TWO ton Superman is in town. Well, the stairs was not much to write home about.
We passed a garden on an easy slope with bamboo steps and when we reached the end of the garden there was concrete stairs taking us maybe 6 meters up to the road above us.
I was happy to be back in civilization even though I had enjoyed the cruise. JOMA cafe and the Mango crumble had been on my mind more than once since I left Luang Prabang for the Mekong Cruise a few days ago. And when at the hotel in Houei Say I could not wait to get to a real restaurant with real food.
We're running in to heavy traffic first thing stepping on to the road
We're running in to heavy traffic first thing stepping on to the road
Turned out that I was alone going to the restaurant with the set menu lunch. There was an electric cart and our Guide and I took off to the restaurant not far away from where we landed.
We stepped in to a place called Pak Houay Mixay Restaurant and I had several sirens and lights going off. This didn't look like a restaurant I would have chosen. But I got a pot of tea, so far so good. I asked for milk for the tea. Not a cubic ton of milk, just a few drops for the tea.
The whole staff got involved and by the time they came to tell me that they didn't had any milk my tea was cold.
I left the restaurant without trying the food. Yes, what kind of restaurant doesn’t have milk? Not a good one! And even if they don't use milk in the food they serve tea. And I refuse to believe that I'm the first one asking for milk to my tea. That is just impossible. And even if I was the first one they should realise that it could happen, that a guest ask for milk in the tea. And if they don't realise that they should not open a restaurant. Or at least not serve tea.
Yes, since Luang Say dropped me at the Kamu Lodge the cruise went downhill, and quick. Well, I took a taxi to my hotel and the Le Calao Inn or as I call it, Calao Hotel. It was 20,000 Scooby Doo Dollar for the ride to the hotel. And I had checked in 10 minutes later.
Desk for my computer
View from my balcony
View from my balcony
The house has been built in 1904 by Chinese trader from Macao during the period of French colonial but using the Portuguese architecture and it is the only one in Laos. In year 1993 the building was very old and in a critical condition and almost be destroyed and replaced, but at that time Luang Prabang was about to be nominated as World Heritage Site therefore we decided to renovate the building.
Base on the century old originally design and tried hard to keep as much as possible the old building itself which we hope it would give our visitor the feeling of real building. And in 1995 UNESCO has registered Calaoinn as one of the World Heritage building in Luang Prabang.
It didn't take long before I had to call the guy, no hot water and the internet didn't work. I don't understand, seems like there is no ambition. This hotel, with the history could easily have been one of the nicest hotels in town. Spend a few dollars on paint and redecorate the whole thing. Open the restaurant, there are beautiful terraces outside the building. Make new and nice bathroom with hot water, hell there are hardly any cold water coming out from the taps.
And they charge 50 to 70 US Dollars per night, for this. But they could easily have been able to charge triple price if they had have a nice hotel. Well, 2 night and I'm out of here.
I was hungry and I left looking for fresh baguette, and of course, I had planned to pass by JOMA Cafe on the Kingkitsarath Road along the Nam Khan River. There were some Christmas and New Year’s decoration at the restaurant across the street from the hotel. There as a sign: FREE TAKE PHOTO
I could not help myself, who the foock wants to have a picture of that? Looked like a pile of garbage and the only reason I saw it was “decoration” was because of the FREE TAKE PHOTO sign.
Well, I'm more and more convinced that there is something wrong with me. I seems to be the only one don't understand. Does people really think someone wants to take picture of shit like this, and they even offer it for free. Like the spirit of the season! Imagine buying a second hand car form these people! FREE TAKE PICTURE, the more I think about it the more amazed I get. What do they think when they go to bed at night? Yeah, today we really spread some joy with our garbage laying around!
Well, this is how it works today. How many time have we not seen the SAFETY FIRST and ENVIRONMETAL FRIENDLY? Every time I see this I have several alarms going off, that is all bull shit. Looking for a hotel, same thing, but the SAFETY FIRST is changed for stuff like: Hot water flow, where did they come up whit that bull shit. Luxury tents, yeah, if you are usually living under a plastic bag under a bridge.
Same with the Nakaraj Princess Hotel in Houai Say, there was so much about how nice everything was in their pamphlet, and then they could not even cook spaghetti and bacon in the restaurant. And according to agoda they call them self a 5 star hotel. Hot water flow and luxury, they seems to get away with it. In Sweden we call id false marketing and it is against the law. Hot water means hot water, not ice cold water. Luxury means the state of great comfort and extravagant living.
I walked towards the town centre, pretty much just around the corner and I passed a French restaurant. L'Elephant and I went inside. Looked like they were closed and I was disappointed. I was hungry, I haven’t had anything to eat since the rice and butter at Kamu Lodge yesterday. But L'Elephant was open and I stepped inside. And they had fresh baguette.
Tea and fresh bread
Cheese platter, tea and fresh bread
Filet mignon made of pork - The best Filet mignon I have ever had
I had 3 or 4 baskets of fresh baguette and a few pots of tea. The main course was set together from different main courses. The Filet mignon was made out of pork, first time I experience this, but maybe because of some religious reasons. I don't know, but it was the best Filet mignon I have ever had.
I took mashed potatoes from another dish and onion in red wine form another meal and I had a winner. It was fantastic!
And I was full, so full I had to go back to my room to rest for a while. My laundry was ready and folded in a bag on my bed. Well, less than 2 hours since I gave them the laundry. This was quick and I got a wee bit suspicious. I checked the clothes and they looked clean so I was happy.
I left my hotel and I walked back to town, I walked down the main street and they were setting up roadside tents and I guess this will be the night market. And it looked like they sold the same knick-knacks they sell all over the world. Nothing I want to buy.
I walked towards West down the Sisavangvong Road and I was stopping at travel agents and tour operators to look for a car.
I have planned to spend the whole day tomorrow seeing the sights around Luang Prabang. I was in the second shop and I was just about to pay 254 US Dollars for tomorrow's tour and a car to Vang Vieng. Yes, the plan was to go by bus, sounded great. At least when it was several days to go.
Now it is 2 days remaining until it is time to leave and the idea to go by bus seemed less and less attractive. I decided to go in my own car.
She asked where they should pick me up for the tour and the trip to Vang Vieng. I told her the name of my hotel, French name but it sounded about right. She didn't knew the hotel. She gave me a paper and I wrote Le Caleo and she didn't knew the hotel.
- Let's check the internet, I suggested
That was strange, I didn't found the hotel and now it turned out that she knew the hotel. The hotel was named Calao and I had put Le Caleo on the paper. And I had wasted all the time to look for this hotel on the internet. I asked for my VISA card and I left.
What a twat, wasting this time when she could have showed me the hotel on the internet. French name and my pronunciation was most likely a wee bit off. And a tour operator without a map with the hotel names, that would have been easy as I know where the hotel is. But she should have understood even though I might have mispronounced the name. Well, I take my business somewhere else.
I tried another place and suddenly the phone rang and the guy answered the phone. He was talking for more than 20 seconds like I didn't existed. I left and they lost the business.
I entered a place called Green Discovery and a few minutes later I had booked and paid for my trips. Good service and it was 20 US Dollars cheaper than with the Nitwit with the hotel name. Good service and I was in a good mood when I left the Green Discovery. I'm going to see two waterfalls tomorrow, The Tat Sae Waterfalls and The Kuang Si Falls. And we will drive around looking at some of the sights around Luang Prabang tomorrow.
They will pick me up at 9 o'clock on Monday morning and we will take off to Vang Vieng. Great, I can stop whenever I want and I will be alone in the minivan. Minivan and it will almost be like going on a bus and this will give me the right “backpaker” feeling.
Suddenly I was at the cafe where I had have my first cup of tea in Luang Prabang. And I passed the girl that sold me the coconut snacks the first day.
And strangely enough she recognised me. She asked if I wanted to buy some snacks, but I had just been at L'Elephant and I was still full. Main Street or as it is named, Sisavangvong Road. Goes from the roundabout at the West to the head of the peninsula where Nam Khan River joins Mekong River North of Luang Prabang.
I leave the Sisavangvong Road to walk down to the Nam Khan River and JOMA Cafe
Strike of smoke over the Nam Khan River
Strike of smoke over the Nam Khan River
I turned around at the roundabout and I started walking back on the Sisavangvong Road in an Easterly direction. Now I had decided to go check out JOMA Cafe and their Mango Crumb.
I left Sisavangvong Road and I walked down to Kingkitsarath Road and I walked along Nam Khan River until I reached JOMA Cafe. I stepped inside, and I was hit by several disappointments.
The only table at the cashier was occupied and the Mango Crumb was finished. No more Mango Crumb and I was disappointed, very disappointed. This was for sure not how I had imagined the return to Luang Prabang. I had been dreaming about the mango crumple, with all the extras and triple servings of whipped cream and vanilla sauce. Yes, this was the day when I was going to try my hot vanilla ice cream as vanilla sauce.
They told me that they would have new Mango Crumble tomorrow. I asked them to put away 2 slices (jumbo size) Mango Crumble. I told them that I would come in around 7 o'clock in the evening.
I left and I was soon back on Sisavangvong Road walking towards the East. Suddenly I saw something looking like it said Scandinavian and when I came closer I saw the sign: Scandinavian bakery. This cannot be bad, well, bad for my diet. I went inside to check it out.
I asked for 2 Danish and they were very good, maybe the best Danish I have had outside Denmark. I also ordered a traditional Swedish “Dammsugare” or a vacuum cleaner in English. The green and brown cookie looks like a mini vacuum cleaner and thus the name.
They didn't had tea from the pot so I had to have two mugs of tea. And that means that I had to mess about with tea bags. Nothing I expect when eating out.
The cafe was, well, this would have been a full 5 star place if they had decorated it with real furniture like a Swedish Konditori. And of course, buy a few pots for the tea. But the cookies and pastries were excellent. I tried one more pastry but I don't know what it was.
When I had paid the bill I felt like it was very bad luck that I had found the place. First I was lucky at JOMA, no Mango Crumble and this was good for my diet.
Then I run in to the Scandinavian Bakery and I had too much to eat. And now when I write this I remember that I had an additional cinnamon bun on top of all the other stuff I ate. Well, maybe I can walk of a few kilo of lard. I started to walk down the Sisavangvong Road. It was soon dark and I started to walk back to my hotel.
I pass L'Elephant on my way home
It started to become dark while I was walking down the Sisavangvong Road and I decided to go back to my hotel. Luang Prabang is really a beautiful town. At least the old par, the old houses are very beautifully renovated. They should do the same with my hotel.
Well, anyway, Laos and it is time to go home when it is dark and I try to wake up with the sun. I have come in to a very good rhythm with my sleep. In Bangkok I toss and turn until the wee hours, in Laos I fall asleep with no problem.
I have asked them to wake me up at 6 o'clock tomorrow morning. And my driver will be here to pick me up at 8 thirty. 2 waterfalls and most of the day will be spent with this. You just have to click HERE to find yourself in the middle of the waterfall excitements.
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured links to the next page.
Jiffy (also jiff)
noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.
So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!
Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas
Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!
Haga usted dice el español? No hay problema! Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!
Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra
Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!