We doubled back from Phong Nha to just north of Da Nang and spent a few days on a beach called Lang Co. We then headed to Da Nang to meet John's brother Brian and his wife Bless.
Brian and Bless and John and Roxanne in Da Nang.
Just north of Da Nang is Monkey Mountain, with a huge statue of the 'Lady Buddha'.
Lady Buddhas. The much smaller Lady Buddha in white with the straw hat in the foreground is Roxanne.
Brothers 2: fashionistas on a day-trip to Hoi An.
The Dragon Bridge is part of the recent make-over in Da Nang. This city is growing and modernizing at a frantic pace and the Vietnamese and foreigner tourist businesses are booming. The dragon on the Dragon Bridge shoots fire out of it's nostrils every evening at 9:00pm.
Brothers 3: Comrades.
Brian and Bless wanted to go to Luang Prabang (Loo-ONG Pra-BONG) in Laos, so we tagged along. This is a very pretty, low key place and the centre of Laos Buddhism so is full of Buddhist temples and monasteries.
Luang Prabang is a wonderful walking town ('though this is the hottest part of the hot season), and there's always something interesting going on.
The old part of the town is a peninsula bordered by the Mekong River and this smaller river, the Khan.
There are two enormous markets in Luang Prabang: the day market (opens early in the morning) has mostly food, and the night market which has everything else.
Two hours upstream on the Mekong River is an old cave temple with a thousand Buddha statues...
LOTS of Buddhas, offered by villagers over hundreds of years...!
Our boat to the Buddha cave is the little one at the end of the bamboo wharf.
There are also lots of Buddhas in the many temples and wats (monasteries) in Luang Prabang.
The wats exist to train monks and early in the morning they still go on their alms rounds, and the villagers donate rice.
We were here for the first half of the 10-day Laos New Year celebration. There are elephant processions...
...little birds in baskets are sold so you can set them free and gain merit...(?!)...
..and everyone gets water thrown on them! Fortunately, it's the hottest and sunniest time of the year.