Serendipity strikes

Having reconnoitered old town Luang Prabang we at least had a clue where to accomplish our least favorite chore when entering a new country, namely buying new SIM cards and untangling all the package deals. To that end we were queuing up at a tiny kiosk, our third, when the couple ahead of us turned and said, “Well, that was easy.” I said, “Don’t I know you?”

Turns out we did. We’d had a nice conversation with Simon and Karen at the morning meet and greet in the hotel at the Thai border but we were relegated to different boats for the journey to Luang Prabang. We instantly recognized each other as fellow travelers and we picked up right where we left off. It’s like that sometimes. Serendipity, that is.

Soon we made plans to climb the 100 meter Mount Phousi, 355 steps guaranteed, with a 24m gilded stupa called That Chroms at the top. Nirvana for a sunset junkie and I like to think we qualify.

We met right across from the Royal Palace in the middle of town.

The stairs started straight up and disappeared from sight under the trees.

At first newbies were stopping precariously, to pose for “before” snaps on the concrete stairs.

It became a slow and steady with occasional gasping rests kind of thing.

It just might be that we’re in better shape than we thought because sooner than we imagined possible we caught sight of the golden stupa.

I didn’t count the steps, after all they were guaranteed.

It was beginning to get crowded up here on Mount Phousi but the sun still had a good way to travel before anything colorful might happen.

We found a good seat and started our sunset vigil, something quite familiar to all sunset junkies.

This is the time the smart chronicler jumps in and says, “sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t.” I think mystical, quite mystical covers it.

Simon, like all good pathfinders, found an entertaining alternate route down the backside of the mountain.

Feet soundly planted on terra firma our thoughts turned to nourishment.

How about dinner at a place that features a tasting menu of typical Laotian food?

Yes we’ve now eaten bamboo

This is the kind of impromptu social interaction that we’ve been missing since losing our cruising community.

With one last look at That Chroms lit up on top of Mount Phousi at night, we laid plans to explore Kuang Si waterfall and called it a night.

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