Day 244… After my bout of food poisoning yesterday I wake feeling much, much better. Brekky consists of bread roll with american peanut butter i bought in cambodia, and some of the tube of vegimite that Amanda bequeathed to me… lovely. Then i headed out to see the Big Brother Mouse teaching centre where monks teach children english as well as Laos customs, and travellers help the monks with thier english. However there seems to be a small monk shortage when I get there, coupled with an overabundance of tourists (i think that may be the actual name for a group of tourists. .. at least it should be), so I leave Chris and Amanda to it and head out to Wat Xieng Thong… a beautiful temple decorated in tiles and mosaics of coloured glass that sparkle and twinkle in the sun… quite the stunning display. While there, a small official photographic company is trying to get shots of a lady in traditional garb in front of a beautiful golden temple that houses an enormous 5 dragon-headed boat when they, and I, get hijacked by an overabundance of chinese tourists (see… that works!) for holiday snaps. Big ups to the photographer who kept apologising for being in the way of his own photo shoot… lol. But the truly surreal bit was apart from wanting photos with the beautiful model in traditional dress with red parasol… the hilariously lovely tourists also wanted ME in the photos… me and a model… me and a tourist… me and a different tourist… me and the model WITH A tourist… everything. I felt like a movie star for a short time!
After that photographic shenanigans i head back to my hotel via Wat Hosier Voravihane… an active Buddhist monastery before i was picked up on a motorbike to head out and do a craft workshop. The place offered on the tour was hideously expensive and I did a little research online to find the BACKSTREET ACADEMY. This collective includes a bunch of different locals all teaching different skills and there is a plethora to choose from at a third the price! From wood carving to cooking… knife making to story telling… spear fishing spear carving to weaving… they have it all and all the cash goes to boost thier meager earnings as well as promote traditional skills that may otherwise get lost in modernisation. Brilliant stuff. The lovely family of my efforts were teaching me to use an old foot-and-pedal non-electric sewing machine to create a satchel bag from recycled cement bags. Apart from the reinforcing, zipper and tricky bottom bit, I sewed it all myself… good job me! However… I did have a drink of water there… sadly another rookie mistake, this will become clearer tomorrow. Then i get myself a decent meal of a big burger at an aussie pub, grab a coke and an ice cream and settle in with the tv to watch a) oggy and cockroaches cartoon marathon followed by b) 1st episode of street fighter:assassin’s fist. And good timing too as a huge storm breaks over Luang Prabang.