As you can tell from most of our pictures of Laos, it's one big jungle here, and if you ever paid attention in school, or to the Travel Channel, jungles are the home of tons of freaky creatures, and we've seen a few of them. Here's a list of some of the weird stuff we've seen.
5. Massive Black Beetles
This is what greeted us as we got off the bus at our first pit-stop in Laos after leaving China.
Yes, a big bowl of black beetles, all crawling over each other, making a most unsettling scritch-scratching noise. Also, they were there to eat. Yummy!
4. Very Large Pill Bug
Some call them pill bugs, or potato bugs, or roly polies, but they are technically woodlice. When I was a kid, I loved playing with these little guys. We'd pick them up and all of a sudden they'd be little gray colored balls rolling around in our hands.
Well, one day Ricky and I went looking for a cave in Vang Vieng and I spotted something that looked quite similar, except that it was huge. It was about an inch and a half long, and maybe half and inch wide, and black. Of course I picked it up, which grossed Ricky out, but I thought it was great.
I didn't think to get a picture of it at the time, but I found these pictures.
My bug wasn't quite that big, but just about.
3. Huge Geckos
Ok, this isn't so weird. I mean, back home in Texas we have geckos that live all over our house. Here in Laos, they are even more abundant. And aren't they cute?
Oh, wait, I mean--
But what we've seen here in Laos are the huge geckos they sell in pet stores, like this.
We saw a couple at one time, just hanging out above us while we ate at a restaurant. I wanted to take pictures but the light was bad and there was no way to show scale, but they were about 6 inches long.
2. The Star Wars Bug
Ok, I have to apologize for this one. We don't have a picture, and I couldn't find one online because I have no idea what this bug is. As we were climbing some stairs to a cave Ricky let out a shout and started going on about a bug that looked like it came right of out Star Wars. I didn't know what he meant until we came across another one a few days later.
We were standing at a small bridge, watching kids play in some water, when this thing flew up near us and landed on the railing of the bridge. It had sort of translucent wings and underneath it appeared to be glowing. It had yellow and orange and pinkish kind of spots that were almost neon-like. It was an odd shape, kind of like a squarish oval. We reached for the camera, but as soon as we did it was gone.
1. Large Bamboo Rat
It took a lot of googling and Wiki-ing to find out what this thing is. Remember that bowl of huge beetles? Well, I think that was a side dish for this.
Because yes, you eat these too.
Now, I know these aren't really all that strange, and we hope to see even more weird creatures when we get out of the big cities and into the real jungle! Stay tuned!
That's right folks, it's time for a little competition.
As most of you know, we are on a sweet motorbike tour through Laos. So far, our drives have been 8 hours and 5 hours. Sometimes those hours can get a little tiresome, despite the beautiful scenery. To keep our blood pumping, we like to plug in to some music and drive away.
So here's our question for you:
What is the best song to listen to on a motorbike while driving through the jungle? What's that song that keeps you loving the journey, the one that puts a smile on your face?
A little while ago we asked our Twitter followers what the most beautiful place they'd ever been to was. We've gotten answers like Switzerland, Iceland, and Venice. Well, we decided we'd share what we think the most beautiful places are.
Basing my answers strictly on beauty I have compiled
the following list. This wasn’t actually all that easy as Talia and I combined
have lived in 5 US states and 7 countries, and visited some 40 odd countries. Therefore I thought it
would be best If Talia and I each gave our top 3s and see what you guys think.
So going on the basis of beauty and only scenic beauty here
are my three:
3.Bohai, the frozen sea.
Ok so I remember as a kid in school reading a short story
about a day when the sea froze over. I remember quite clearly that our teacher
told us that the sea can never freeze because it has too much salt and it moves
constantly, and unless it is in the tundra or polar regions, it could not
Well, He was wrong. I lived in The Liaoning province of
China and I saw it with my own eyes. It was absolutely astonishing.
The sea had
frozen over from the shore, miles out to sea. Up until that day I would have
argued that it could never happen but there it was before my eyes.
We head out onto the ice.
Talia standing on an impossible mound of frozen sea.
2.The Ardennes in Belgium, during winter
I lived in Belgium for a year (don’t ask why!) and Belgium is quite often a country that’s a
little bit forgotten about. You hear people saying they are going on holidays
to france or Italy but never really Belgium, unless passing through.
Well I have to say that anyone missing Belgium would be
missing out. Belgium has some AMAZING stuff to see and even a short pop over
would certainly be worth it.
While I was working there I had to drive through this forest
over these mountains a few times a week. The drive would take me past some amazing wildlife such
as wild deer and wolves and past the highest point in Belgium.
Once the snow came, it became one of my most favorite places
to be. I loved driving through there, and watching the carpet of white and the
tracks of whatever had crossed the road last. There were times when a group of
over a dozen deer and stags, all covered in snow would stand at the side of the
road eating grass or waiting to cross. it was truly amazing and I don’t think
my words can do it justice, but hopefully my pictures will.
1.Yangshuo, Guilin, Guangxi, China.
Yep! China again! Whenever you watch Kung fu panda or
crouching tiger, hidden dragon or any movie that is harshly stereotypically
Chinese they will film in certain distinct locations around China. Yangshuo is
one of those.
Yangshuo is a small village in the Guangxi province in
china, and this village sits in the middle of the most strange rock formations
I have ever seen. The village is literally surrounded by these tall karst
mountains on all sides, it is an amzing place to visit.
We stayed smack in the
middle of one of the most beautiful areas for a few days and just chilled and
wandered, just because the scenery was so amazing.
3. Laie, Hawaii
I attended college in Hawaii for the first two years of my higher
education. The school was in a small
town called Laie, situated near the north shore of the Oahu island. It sat between the ocean and the mountains,
nestled into the small quiet town. Now,
I say the town is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been because it is home
to a few specific beautiful places.
Oddly, the local cemetery was one of those places. People
planted plumeria trees over graves, or hibiscus. Flowering plants thrived
there, not just dying bouquets. My
friend and I used to take walks there and read the gravestones while soaking in
the beauty of the place.
The Laie Falls hiking trail
is also one of the most beautiful places in Laie. The first bit of the hike throws you into an
evergreen forest where the ground is soft with a foot or more of long ropey
needles, perfect for doing somersaults in. Then you are thrown into an open
area with low bushes of strawberry-guava ripe for the eating during the right
season. Finally, as you near the falls, the flora becomes greener, wild
raspberries litter the slopes and then you are at the cool water where you can
swim surrounded by forest.
The town itself was beautiful in a more unusual, quirky sort
of way. Outside the small rundown houses towered huge breadfruit trees, coconut
trees, plumeria and banana trees. Chickens clucked and ran around, as did the small
barefoot children. Behind the university
were the university farms, replete with tropical fruit trees. Lilikoi, or
passion fruit, was easy to harvest in the woods just near the school. Laie had small town charm and physical beauty
Flashback! See that tree? Elvis sat there in one of his movies.
Since we have arrived in the country I have been absolutely
astonished by the beauty of this place.
On the first leg of our drive, I couldn’t get over the lush mountains
just dripping with jungle. When we were high up on a mountain road, staring out
at the tops of other mountains, I was sure that I was in paradise. It’s really
hard to define what is so beautiful about Laos, so I’m just going to leave it
at this: jungle, blue skies, small villages, waterfalls.
1. Iguazu Falls, Argentina
I lived in Argentina for a year and a half, and lived in a
few distant cities. When I first got there, I was lucky enough to live just a
couple of hours away from Iguazu Falls and got to go a couple of times. Also,
my parents came to visit the country and pick me up when I was leaving and we
visited the falls again.
The first time I went, it was amazing. I had never seen
anything so impressive as the Devil’s Throat falls, with its thundering
However, that time and the next were cold cloudy days, and while beautiful, I didn’t get to see the full beauty of the place. When my parents came with me, however, it was a glorious sunshiny day and there were hundreds of multicolored butterflies everywhere. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…
Me and a very sociable coati.
Well, as you can see from our choices, Talia definitely prefers warm, jungley places, while 2 out of 3 of my choices are wintry.
So what do you think? Did we get it wrong? Leave us a quick comment and let us know the most beautiful place you've been, or if you agree or disagree with our choices!
Hey guys, Ricky here! I'm very sick today but just for our readers I summoned up the strength to write a little blog.
Ok, so we lived in China for over a year and traveled for two months and I have to say, China is home to 90% of the world's biggest rips-off. Everything you can buy in China needs a thorough inspection before you can tell if it's legit or just a plastic casing that looks similar.
And because of the success of Apple's iPhone, the iPhone branding was certainly not left untouched. Below we have assembled a list of products that some smart little man in a factory in the Guangdong province of China decided should merit the lovely logo that Steve Jobs worked quite hard to build.
We actually found these beauties in a market in Vang Vieng. Sometimes, a lady has to get sophisticated and trod on the logo of the world's most valuable company to feel good about herself, and what better to get your husband to notice you and say "you look nice dear" than a nice pair of IphoneS sandals?
iPhone(s) sandals complete with rhinestones, for that special day.
What better to go running in than in your amazing new iPhone runners! Available in white or sometimes black. But mostly just white.
Gas burning stoves.
Sometimes there really is no excuse. Even Chinese people know that an apple iPhone is...... a phone. But in this particular case someone forgot to inform the clever Research and Development guys of a Chinese stove building factory, and so, we are left with this:
There are times when owning an Apple product simply isn't enough. There are times when you need to be with your apple product, even in your sleep. You need to hold it tight and stare into it's high resolution "retina" display and say...... thank you.
Cue the iPhone bed sheets! Email, play Angry Birds, take 720p video, all in your sleep!
Come here app store! You get in here too, Safari!
This is simply random and useless.
Toilet paper dispensing Ipod/Iphone dock.
You know those times when you need to go to the bathroom and you don't really want to because you forgot your toilet paper and/or headphones? never fear, this nifty little number can play your favorite party playlist out loud, so the party never has to stop. Just imagine the new dance moves you could invent while you're waiting for the business side of things to finish! I'm sold.
Dispenses bog roll, and excellent tunage.
The iPhone 5 ice cream!!
I had a couple of these myself and for some absurd reason, which I can't fathom for the life of me, they are pear flavoured. The "Apple shaped Apple Iphone 5" signature ice cream is pear flavoured, and came with a bite taken out.
No lady garden is complete without a nice pink apple on the front, as we can see below. I have two pairs myself, and as with everything that China produces they are not strictly for sale, only for rent for a short period until they fall apart in tatters.
Available in ..... apple colors.
You know I've always wanted to be able to incinerate some poor creature while checking my e-mails, and now, we can! I'm not really sure what purpose the iPhone actually serves here but, well, I want one.
1. Dildos No ladies' bedsite locker is complete without this pleasant little iPhone 10. I assume that this particular product is in the research stage at the moment and won't be available for some time, but we can only dream....
Complete with vibrating function and SIRI. So you can tell it what to do.
We've all been to a Chinese buffet and stuffed our faces on moo goo gai pan, sweet and sour pork with the little bits of pineapple in it, and for some reason, french fries; or we've gotten late night takeout to drown our sorrows in orange chicken and fortune cookies. Either way, we know Chinese food, right? Well, surprisingly not. Here's a list of a few dishes that claim to be Chinese but actually aren't.
1. Dim Sum.
Now, I know many of you foodies out there will claim that it's Cantonese, which is totally part of Chinese food! Well, right and wrong. Cantonese, yes, Chinese no. See, the Chinese don't really consider the Cantonese or their food legit Chinese. You won't find dim sum anywhere but Hong Kong, or the Guangdong province.
2.Spring Rolls/ Egg Rolls
Everybody's favorite, I know. They're greasy and deep fried and filled with meat and veggies. How can you go wrong? Well, you can't really, I suppose, except if you say they are Chinese. Once again, this is a more Cantonese dish. In our year of living there and 2 months of traveling China, we only once saw spring rolls, and that was in a Hong Kong restaurant in Chongqing. Many may claim that they are popular all over China, but really, they aren't.
As for egg rolls, well this is the Chinese egg roll:
It's basically just a wafer like tube, that is apparently made with egg. It's sold in boxes or canisters like that above next to the crackers and cookies in the supermarket. So enjoy the egg rolls.
3. Lemon/Orange Chicken
But, but, but nooooo! It can't be, right? Unfortunately, yes. It's not really a thing in China. In fact, lemons are rare and expensive in China, at least in the north, that it's impossible to keep up a dish like this. As for oranges, mandarin oranges are plentiful, but aren't great for cooking, as the flavor is too mellow and honey-ish. So sorry, it's a no-go for lemon and orange chicken.
4. Chicken Balls.
Now, I had never heard of these until Ricky mentioned them, so all of you who haven't heard of them, simply click here . Note the bit about how they are "largely unheard of in China."
5. General Tso's Chicken
An American invention, this one. It was first mentioned in 1977, and before that it was unheard of, especially in China. It is named after General Tso (no, really), who couldn't have possible enjoyed this dish, seeing as he died in 1885.
6. Fortune Cookies
Ah, fortune cookies. What's a better way to end a tasty meal of non-Chinese Chinese food? It's crunchy and lightly sweet, and best of all, gives you a message (from destiny, no less!).
My heart is breaking but it is my duty to tell you that this, while wonderful, is not authentic. This is a complete invention of the Western world. Why? No idea.
Now, having said all of that, let me make a very important statement. Just because they are not authentic does not mean they aren't delicious. They are. They are so delicious. While we were in China, sometimes Ricky and I would crave westernized Chinese grub. We wanted more sticky sauces, particularly the impossibly red ones. We wanted tangy orange chicken and egg rolls. And we wanted fortune cookies.
Alas, we were stuck with real Chinese food--noodles, rice, and more noodles.