All posts filed under: Laos

All Around The World

While on Easter Island, we drove our rented ATV up the steep slopes of Rano Kau, a volcano near the main town of Hanga Roa. We came around a bend and eyed a dude ahead of us, running at a quick clip. Blake pulled up beside him. “Sir, are you okay? Is someone chasing you? Are you in distress?” He looked confused, and only at that point did we realize he was running by choice—jogging, if you will. It takes all kinds. We, meanwhile, strictly limited our running to once a location in order to bring you our trip in roughly 90 seconds:

The UPDATED Best Restaurants in the World: A Definitive Ranking by Blake MacKay, Master of English Literature and Professional Expert

(JK. But not about the Masters part.) I am on a four-and-a-half month, ’round-the-world “honeymoon” with my wife, hence this very blog. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry in New York City for seven years and when I travel, I care about nothing more than my meals. Below are the top ten restaurants I visited in the first three months of my trip, up through the end of our time in South America. (See the first installment here.) I will update again when Spain and Turkey inevitably squeeze out two-thirds of this list. See snapshots at @wearethemacks and @blakewmackay on Instagram and hit me up at heywearethemacks@gmail.com.) 1. Huen Muan Jai (Chiang Mai, Thailand—formerly #1): It’s been three months since we set off on our trip and two months since we were in Chiang Mai, and still no dining experience (emphasis on the dining experience, as opposed to a single dish or bite of food) has left as much of an impression on my culinary imagination as Huen Muan Jai. Its #1 ranking is undoubtedly …

The Best Of What We Ate: Asia

With all the food we’ve eaten on our trip thus far, it’s a wonder there’s any left for the rest of y’all. And, like the hook from any Iggy Azalea song, there are some things that we just cannot get out of our heads. (And, like Iggy tracks, some of these dishes didn’t make us feel good about liking them.) We honor them here; below, a list of the best single items we ate in Asia. We’ve excluded specific dishes from our favorite restaurants (check out Blake’s list of those here) so, for the most part, these skew in the cheap eats direction. Sea grapes, Okinawa, Japan The caviar of the sea! …The vegetarian caviar of the sea! We had these at Booten in Naha. Drag them quickly through good soy, done. Beef Bowl, Ishigaki, Japan If you are a reader of this blog, you may or may not be sick of hearing us go on about Ishigaki Beef. Well, TOO BAD, because we never knew beef could taste this good and thusly cannot stop …

Who Wore It Better: Luang Prabang, Laos

An aside from MacKenzie: Can we acknowledge how Blake looks like a smoldering hot model who is giving such good face that all other faces shrink away in shame? And I sort of look like an awkward foreign exchange student posing for a photo to send back to my mom. “Things are so great here! I’m making lots of friends!” It’s okay. Blake takes this one.

This Is A Post About Museums In Luang Prabang: Cameras Were Verboten So Click If You Like Words

The museum offerings in Luang Prabang are better than might be expected of a small town, even one that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The main attraction is the Luang Prabang Palace Museum, worth the visit even though they seem not all that interested in welcoming visitors. They close for a two-hour lunch break, shorts and tank tops are a no, skirts must be parochial-school length, and there are strictly no photos allowed. We will compensate with a 10,000-word post. The museum is housed on the grounds of the palace of the now defunct royal family of Laos, who ruled from 1904 to 1975 before being deposed and “reeducated” to death by Communist guerrillas. As far as palaces go, it’s approachable, with a throne room that politely requests your fealty rather than demanding it. On display are solid gold crowns, swords, knick-knacks presented by foreign heads of state, and mid-century Laotian furniture befitting a king and queen. And the place is lousy with art, from elaborate mosaics to multiple portraits of members of the royal …

Shout Out To Asian Elephants

When Blake’s sister Kyle found out we were headed to Elephant Country, she asked us not to ride them. “They don’t want you up there. How would you feel if you had to carry someone around on your back?” We do take your point, Kyle, and you are a far, far better person than we are, but if we see a pint of Graeter’s we’re going to eat it, and if we see an elephant, we’re going to try to snuggle with it and make friends and get it to rock us to sleep at night with its trunk. And, you know, ride it. But we’re not terrible people, so we did do our research. Elephant Village Sanctuary, a half an hour drive outside Luang Prabang, is pretty great as far as elephant tourist experiences go. They purchase their animals mainly from logging camps, which is not a cute place to be if you’re a pachyderm. The elephants are put to work in the very industry that is destroying their natural habitat, which is doubly …

Rice Rice Baby

Why spend your vacation lying on a beach, mainlining piña coladas, when you could be knee-deep in mud and buffalo shit, tilling a field? And so we found ourselves at Living Land, an agritourism experience just outside Luang Prabang that teaches visitors how rice is “traditionally” cultivated. Some things we learned: -We would not make great rice farmers. That’s really the essential point here. -Rice farming is a gendered affair. Men work the heavy machinery while women winnow the rice, separating the grains from their husks. Being skilled at this task is essential if you want to find a husband, which luckily we don’t. -Those cone hats flatter no one. Even cute kids and beautiful women look like idiots in them. -Rice seeds must be germinated on small plots before being transplanted to the main paddies. (Read: farming rice the old fashioned way is a lot of g damn work. Cone hats off to the peeps doing it without modern farming equipment in Laos.) -When plowing behind a water buffalo, you will probably trudge through …