I have to admit that when I view IG posts of remote, pristine locations with captions beneath saying something to the likes of “Just Go! or Travel!” as though it is attainable for each and every one of us, I tend to feel just a little irritated. Traveling to distant lands, in fact, traveling at all is not something that we are all fortunate enough to be able to enjoy. I say this because my recent experiences in SE Asia were otherworldly. I know full well how fortunate I am to have had such an incredible experience, and met such wonderful people.
With that said….
My travels began in northern Thailand, were I trekked and trekked and trekked. I cam across these two beauties busy working a pineapple field. Although the weather is extremely hot and humid, they wear multiple layers of clothing. I thought they were beautiful and told them so. They giggled and brushed off such sentiment, but then agreed to pose for a photo. They are now framed and reside on a wall in my office. I am inspired by them; their strength, enthusiasm, vigor, grace and beauty.
In Bangkok I visited a floating market. Apparently at one time, most of this vibrant metropolis was a made up almost entirely of waterways. It’s hard to imagine now.
And then there is Luang Prabang. A JEWEL! Shall I say it again….
I met this charming lady one afternoon in the back of a Tuk Tuk. She asked what I was doing there so far from home. I told her that I wasn’t sure, for it was the truth.
Luang Prabang has the best early, morning market. Nestled among a few narrow lanes, it bustles with locals and perhaps the odd tourist. This where you can feel a part of everyday life of this fantastic town.
Whether hiking in the mountains through remote villages or in Vientiane the capital of Laos you will see signs for The National Women’s Union. In villages the sign is a simple wooden hand carved plaque. The Women’s Union is one of the most recognized and respected institutions in the country. I was in awe. It seems we in The West have much to do. A one day march or the odd IG post is simply inadequate. We must mobilize and unite as one. The Women’s Union in Laos has been a force to be reckoned with since 1955! I’m with you. Are you with me? Let’s get this started.
When I first arrived, it would take me a good ten minutes just to cross the street! Riding on the back of a motorcycle whether it be on the teeming streets of Hanoi or through pristine countryside anywhere in SE Asia, is an exhilarating dream.
People spend a good deal of time eating in SE Asia. Food is a definite fixation. This was one of the rare place close to my hotel that had a couple of non meat items on the menu with considering it a vegetarian dish. They made what I would best describe as stews. I liked the place; for even though I never saw another Westerner in there, no one paid the slightest attention to me.
If you are ever in Hanoi, do visit The Women’s Museum. The museum is informative and the exhibits are well presented. I learnt much with regards to the Vietnamese females’ contribution during the Vietnam War. SE Asia; where they have a Women’s Union in Laos and a Women’s Museum in Vietnam!
Altars. Elaborate and everywhere.
At some point it may become evident how one is feeling exhausted from one’s own holiday! I took a detour, and spent a couple of days in Hoian, and so glad I did. I rented a bicycle, and rode through rice fields and ventured down sleepy back streets in order to gain a better understanding of how locals lived. Hoian, like Luang Prabang is a Unesco World Heritage site and it’s easy to understand why.
I’m just trying to connect with, YOU!