10 May, Laos – ‘All Over The Place – Asia, part 2’

Touched down in Laos 25 hours after leaving my front door, with an 8 hour stop over in Vietnam (first time I’ve become one of those people asleep on a row of airport seats). Met by our lovely fixer Yuta who sorted all our visas for us and were soon at our hotel by the river side having a much appreciated 5 minute welcome shoulder massage!

On our day off to get over jet lag we paid a visit to the Kuang Si waterfalls, which tower out of the wooded mountainside and have a couple of natural pools below that you can swim in. Spent sunset by the side of the Mekong river wondering what the next 2 weeks are going to bring.

Day one of filming brought us a 4am wake up call to head up to the street behind and meet the local monks of Luang Prabang. They walk round the block a few times in the morning to collect alms, which consist mostly of food, from locals and tourists. My co-presenter this block is AOTP newbie Richard David Caine (from ‘Horrible Histories’ and ‘Class Dismissed’), and dressed in our white robes, kneeling, with our gaze averted, we did our best to place rice and packets of crisps into the monks metal bowls as they passed (who’d have thought monks liked tomato ketchup flavoured crisps?). Then once we’d had our own breakfast we headed up to the monastery to film inside, ending the piece with a chat to a local 18 year old monk, who told us about how his day consists mostly of going to school and sweeping. Lots of sweeping.

Ended our day crossing a slightly precarious bamboo bridge to get to a nice looking restaurant on the other side of the river. It gets washed away every year in the rainy season, then they build it again. Keeps people busy I suppose.

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