• Tara B. Vasi

Day 23: Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang, Laos, Let’s Imagine, Sunset, Utopia

I woke up extra early this morning so that I could have call with Kimberly from Let’s Imagine, about the retreat in Sri Lanka. My left groin/ inner thigh is still incredibly tender from trying to keep up with the little whipper snappers on the soccer field and my right foot is starting to swell up and turn purple. When I walk it looks like I have either been shot in the leg or am a zombie.

Kim and I start the conversations getting to know each other a little bit more. We met online a few weeks ago and besides FB messenger have only had one half hour face time while I was in Hanoi and she was on a break from teaching English online. While we talk I drink coffee and fix myself a little egg sandwich to smuggle onto the bus and be that stinky friend.

She had sent me over the itinerary for the retreat a few days back and when I went over it on my own, I had a lot of questions, so I used this opportunity to pick her brain and we made note of things we wanted to ask the owner of the villa, Chamara. We came up with so many great ideas to make our guests feel special and I cannot wait to douse them in love. We ended the conversation with a verbal agreement that I would be hired on to Let’s Imagine as a retreat leader and social media manager. This is very exciting for me! I have always wanted to work with a non profit and double awesome that it blends all of my passions, travel, yoga and saving animals. I think I can really help her and her foundation, thus helping children and animals. We are in the early stages of our employee agreement and if anyone knows a non profit specific lawyer, please refer me!

We are carrying on so beautifully I have a hard time hanging up. I am so overjoyed with this new position and new connection with this amazing human.

I am the last person on the bus, but I saved my spot with my bag in the single row, so I don’t have to be all cooped up and shoulder to shoulder with anyone. I am worried about motion sickness so I immediately roll out my awesome travel pillow, close my eyes, and fall fast asleep for a few hours until I hear the bus come to a halt. Our first stop has quite the view. In the womans squat toilets, their are windows and we have a great view of the mountains whilst we crouch.

We meet a super special fully boi and he looks very well fed.

We get some food and have an equally amazing view. I am thoroughly spent on fried rice with mixed vegetables. There is a fruit stand and I buy two mini bananas. There are apples too and they look like pink lady’s. I ask the guy where they are from and he says they are imported from China.

We still have a few more hours to go. I stare out the window and drive myself crazy with my chanting.

We arrive to Luang Prabang and learn that it is a small city tucked in the jungle. Their are lush trees and flowers and I can tell right away that I am going to love it. There isn’t much traffic and there are really no high buildings. The streets look clean and the sky is blue. We pull up to Treasure hotel and I get so excited.

A Lao lady greets us with a cup of green cool tea. Bryony and I are assigned a room together and I applaud Sochea for not separating us and forcing us to bond with the new people. We drop our bags quickly and meet at reception to go for a walk and see the sunset. There is a temple up 300 stairs on the mountain top in the center of the city that has the best view for the sunset.

The stairs walking up are packed full of people and so is the top. Even if you get close enough to see the sunset, its pretty blocked by the person in front of you holding up their phone trying to take a picture. People are pushing and shoving to get the best view and others are just standing there after taking photos not allowing anyone else the opportunity. I hang in the back and wait for a full on fist fight, but it doesn’t happen. I try not to get frustrated but people can be incredible inconsiderate of others.

The night market is going on. I love me a good night market. Its like a regular market, but it’s open at night. We watch them set up and the women so meticulously set out their products so that they are presented in such a beautiful way.

The area is known for their coconut pancakes and Ali gets some and shares one with me. They are two half circles put together and taste like fluffy coconut goodness.

Bryony and I break away for a smoothy and a coffee at a small bakery to people watch. Everyone walking around us seems very happy. The small buildings are lit up with bright lights and its hard to tell if the lights are brighter then the beautiful flowers hanging from the balconies.

I research yoga in the area and find a yoga class for the following morning at a place called Utopia. I talk Bryony into walking there after our drink and it ends up being way off the beaten path on the edge of the Mekong river. Its a hostel essentially and restaurant, but in the mornings they clear the tables and have their yoga class over looking the river.

The hostel is rad. I want to live there. Total utopia. The whole place is open so there are trees inside and out. It’s a beautiful starry night. There are tables, bean bag chairs and beds laid out on the floor so that you can lounge and eat and drink while enjoying the view of the river. There are strings of lights and candles and free wifi! Hahaha what more could you want!?!

We are famished and decide sorry chickens, we are going to eat you! We both order a honkin Chicken mozzarella sandwich with lime basil aioli and lettuce tomato and onion. It comes on a delicious sesame and poppy bun and a handful of fries on the side. We both don’t talk while enjoying every bite. I went just under two weeks without any meat. I will continue a vegetarian diet, but if my body says it needs meat, I’ll allow it during the transition time.

I waddle back to the hotel because of my groin and my foot and my belly full of chicken. We latch the door and call it a night.


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