Trekking near Luang Prabang:
I joined a tour group for an all day trek in the hills near Luang Prabang. The tour included pickup and drop off
in a pickup truck, an english speaking guide, lunch, water, and stops in a couple of villages. The difficulty was rated
at a medium on some unknown scale. The cost was around $20, which is an outrageous amount of money in Laos, but on par
with the inflated prices in Luang Prabang.
On the trek with me was three women from the UK, and one woman from Germany. Sadly I am unable to recall anyone's
name. Next time I will write them down.
The highlight of the trek was the school in our first village. It consisted of two open air buildings connected in
an "L" shape. I think there was five classrooms and about thirty to forty students ranging in age from about 5 years
to 12 years of age.
As we approached the school, all activity stopped and the children and teachers lined up to greet us. We were clearly
a novelty. The kids watched our every movement with the small ones hiding behind the bigger ones. Our guide told
us that we were the first group of foreigners to visit the school in the past year. From the reaction of the children,
I believe them. According to our guide, the tour company rotates the routes so that the remote villages are not visited
more than once every couple of months during a year and then discontinues visiting the village the following year. They
have found that the character of the villages changes if they are visited frequently.