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USC's Travel log

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Log entries 1 - 10 of 43 Page: 1 2 3 4 5

Jul 12, 2024 10:00 PM Scenes from the Nam Khan River, Luang Prabang

Video clips and photos of the Nam Khan River, which flows through Luang Prabang and whose course to its confluence with the Mekong River forms peninsula in Luang Prabang’s old downtown section.

Jul 09, 2024 10:00 PM Monks’ Morning Alms Offering - Luang Prabang, Laos

Video clips of the morning alms (food) offerings to the processions of barefoot Buddhist with their begging bowls from the many temples around Luang Prabang, Laos. The first clips, shot in the early morning darkness, were taken on Prommathat Road near the Cold River Hotel alley, with the subsequent clips in brighter ambient light taken near the intersection of Khounxoa Road and Sisavangvatthana Road.

Jul 09, 2024 10:00 PM Kuang Si Waterfall, Southwest of Luang Prabang Laos

Video clips and photos of the three main tiers and cascades of Kuang Si Waterfall, a popular tourist attraction roughly 30 km due southwest of Luang Prabang, Laos. The falls are fed by the Nam Xi (Nam Si) River, with the tallest cascade being 60 m, and the azure and turquoise hues of the pools beneath the picturesque cascades owing to the calcium carbonate particles suspended in the water.

Jul 07, 2024 10:00 PM Nam Thouam General Market, Northern Laos

A visit to the general market in Nam Thouam, northern Laos. Located on Road #13 northeast of Luang Prabang, the visit was a stop on the drive from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang following a two-day boat trip down the Nam Ou River from Muang Khua to Nong Khiaw that included an overnight stay in the village of Muang Ngoi. This is one of the two videos shot during my 13 days in Laos where I briefly appeared in front of the camera (thanks to guide) while sampling some local tobacco for sale in the market, with my guide using a small square of cut scratch paper to roll me a short cigarette.

Jul 07, 2024 10:00 PM The Bountai Market - Phongsali Province, Northern Laos

A visit to the Bountai general market, located on Road #1B in northern Laos’ Phongsali province. The market was typical of others I had visited in Laos, but was memorable in that it was where I first got to sample the region’s famous green lao-lao sticky rice whiskey (owing to green leaves added to the fermenting sticky rice, which changes only the color and has no effect on taste or potency), with my guide borrowing my phone to give me a bit of rare time in front of the camera as I sipped my inaugural shot. The market also had some interesting local ‘animal protein’ offerings.

Jul 02, 2024 10:00 PM Bird’s Eye Views of Luang Prabang, Laos

Bird’s eye views of Luang Prabang taken from Mount Phousi Hill and from the window of my departing AirAsia flight from Luang Prabang International to Bangkok’s Don Mueang International on December 6, 2023. Both the Mekong River and the Nam Khan River can be seen in the video clips.

Jun 30, 2024 10:00 PM Luang Prabang’s Old Bridge Road

Video clips and photos of a foggy morning stroll along Luang Prabang’s Old Bridge Road, which was a short walk down Prommathat Road from my hotel with the namesake two-lane, two-wheeled vehicles and pedestrians-only bridge spanning the Nam Khan River visible from my room’s balcony.

Jun 27, 2024 10:00 PM Breakfast in Bountai - Phongsali Province, Northern Laos

Breakfast at the one sit-down restaurant at the Bountai Market, whose menu was very limit and as a result both our prior day's lunch and breakfast consisted of an order of khao piak, the Lao version of pho with pork as the protein of choice. For both meals, we sat at the same table located in the cantilevered patio portion of the restaurant that, for breakfast, afforded a view of the Nam Leng River below and the Road #1B bridge that spans it in the upstream direction backed by wooded hills shrouded in a veil of fog, with the meal accompanied by the sounds of passing morning traffic, crowing roosters and Lao pop music playing in the background. My steaming bowl of khao piak and mug of hot green tea really hit the spot on that cool, misty morning, with the khao piak being very tasty (saep der!) and a good way to start what would be a long day involving walking tours of three ethnic minority villages and over 7 hours on an at times windy and very rough road en route to Phongsali.

Jun 25, 2024 10:00 PM The Ban Nam Bak ‘Kaipen’ Riverweed Village, Laos

Stopping by the town of Ban Nam Bak (named for the nearby Nam Bak River) along Road #1C on the outskirts of Nong Khiaw, Laos whose families work in the village's home ‘kaipen’ (dried 'riverweed’) industry to witness its processing steps. Similar to seaweed, riverweed is a dried nori-like product made with freshwater algae obtained from the local rivers. The collected riverweed is formed into thin sheets using bamboo matting and clear plastic sheeting. The riverweed sheets are then sun-dried atop the bamboo matting on the local rooftops and angled trellises for roughly 7 hours. After the initial drying period, the sheets are taken through a stepwise process of adding flavorings that are lightly tapped onto the dried sheet’s surface using a whisk-type brush, followed by additional drying periods. First, a boiled liquid mixture of green and black olives with tamarind extract and water is applied to the dried riverweed sheets, followed after drying by the solid flavorings of sesame seeds and thin slices of garlic and tomatoes applied to the liquid mixture-dampened sheets. After the final sun-drying is completed, the riverweed is ready for sale to local restaurants and stores. Similar to nori, the flavor is very savory with a pleasant earthy saltiness.

Jun 22, 2024 10:00 PM Pad Krapow Moo Cooking Demo by Madam Zabb, Bangkok

A cooking demo of pad krapow moo (spicy minced pork with Thai holy basil) courtesy of Madam Zabb, owner and cook of a corner restaurant with an outdoor kitchen in Bangkok's Don Mueang neighborhood, about a 20 minute walk from Bangkok's older & smaller Don Mueang International Airport (DMK). I had a one day layover between arriving early that morning at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) before departing out of the following afternoon from Don Mueang to Luang Prabang, Laos (LPQ) on a budget Thai AirAsia flight. I decided to spend my 'One Night in Bangkok' within reasonable walking distance from Don Mueang Int'l and found a budget room at Moca Hotel located behind the Watthana Nan wet market, with my hotel balcony looking down into the backside entrance to the covered but open air market. I decided on pad krapow moo for dinner and found Madam Zabb's just up the street and around the corner. Her pad krapow moo kai dow (spicy holy basil ground pork over rice with a crispy edges, warm runny yolk sunny-side up egg on top) was very tasty and fairly spicy.

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