To be honest, both Hanna and I were a little disappointed with certain elements of Luang Prabang. Yes, it was pretty and on a river and had some sweet French touches. But the main area of town was populated almost completely by tourists. There wasn't much of a local feel to any of it and instead of peeking in on a community, I felt more like we were the community. The restaurants, shops, bookstores, and cafes were all for tourists. It felt like a strange little bubble at times. There were some exceptions, though - we explored the morning market and rented bicycles and rode them out of town and took off our shoes down by the riverside.
After a semester of living in a largely bicycle-less city, it felt amazing to get on an old-fashioned bike and ride on dusty roads through little farm villages and wooded swamps. Supposedly there was a waterfall, but we never found it.
The river looked pretty dirty, but it was peaceful. Children were bathing in it and a few tourists were swimming.
I think this picture proves it: I was adopted and my real parents were midgets.