The Champagne lifestyle

I went on a couple of trips from Luang Prabang, to see what else there was in northern Laos.  Firstly I went for a cruise along the Mekong.

These are the regular ferries that take people across from one side to the other – but our boat had a roof and comfortable seats and cushions.

We meandered along and saw buffalo along the bank

the common dark ones, plus a few albinos – and we even saw the occasional elephant –

just pottering about in the distance.

Trip number two involved a hair raising trip in a minibus with a load of backpackers and a driver who was more interested in chatting up the two Korean girls sitting next to him than in watching the road. We were going to see some beautiful waterfalls just outside Luang Prabang, where the water is the most amazing blue, thanks to the limestone particles reflecting the sunlight apparently.

It’s a very popular spot for a walk or even a swim –

I dipped my toe in, but it was much too cold for someone who’s now accustomed to the bath-like temperature of the water in Malaysia.

As I walked further on, I was intrigued to see a table set for two, balanced rather precariously at the edge of a small promontory –

How strange, I thought.  Had some romantic chap decided that this would be the perfect spot for a proposal picnic?  If so, his beloved might well end up in the drink, as the table and chairs were balanced on small stones to keep them upright, just inches from the drop into the water.

But then the cameras and the lights arrived, along with an anxious-looking young man carrying a bottle of champagne

… they were photographing an advertisement for Taittinger.

in the end, after much tweaking of the glasses, bottle, plates, bread basket etc, they were ready –

I was glad to discover that Taittinger and I share the same excellent taste when it comes to champagne-worthy locations, but I was sorry that I hadn’t thought to bring a bottle myself, to chill in the waterfall and then sip elegantly, whilst trailing my fingers languorously in the water.  Instead I had to make do with purified water, swigged straight out of the plastic bottle; it’s so hard to maintain standards while travelling.