July 25, 2011; 11:02
Location: Between Chiang Khong Thailand and Luang Prabang Lao
Why: The Mekong River is very brown and the journey a bit too long.
My slice of Pai was delicious while it lasted. But as always, these lil wandering feet itch to move on.
1, 750Baht afforded me the painstakingly slow boat ride down the Mekong River, Southeast Asia's life line. First order of the journey was to catch the 8pm minibus at Pai's tiny bus station. That was five days ago. We reached Chiang Khong at 3:30am and went straight to sleep at the overnight accommodation provided.
At 7:30am, the ridiculously cheery guy woke us weary Pai-ers up with Lao songs of morning glory and visions of breakfast. Afterwards, we were herded away to the Thai border crossing into Huoay Xai on the Lao side.
Thai immigration, not so bad. Lao immigration? O.M.F.G. Somebody shoot me please:
After a series of go to this window, no, that window, fill out this form, go to this window, no, that window, now surrender your passport, pay in US dollars, I wait haphazardly until the Lao official waves my passport and I shimmy my way back to THAT window to get myself all sorted out.
Okay, so we Falangs are finally sorted out and now it is do nothing but enjoy the scenic views down the Mekong River for the next 7-8hrs. I'm glad I bought the recommended pillow.
Extra car seat style chairs were brought on board and we became somewhat packed like sardines:
I like how I caught an intimate moment here:
After the first day's journey was finished, we docked at the minute stop over town of Pakbeng for cheap food and sleep. I spent the night eating and playing cards with Erin (Wales), Andy (Manchester) and John (France). Good shmoggy was provided by John and new card games were taught by Andy. It was a lovely evening as we got right baked and laughed over funny card game rules.
Another day of crawling down the Mekong River was enough to drive me mad as Erin and I made it to the pier a little bit late and ended up with no seats for our tushies for the next 7-8hrs. Le sigh.....
So we packed ourselves along with the other deliquents at the back of the boat next to baggage and the deafening motor. Le sigh......
Some beautiful scenery along the way made the experience memorable:
My new travel crew was joined by Nick (San Diego) and we have been all chilling out in Luang Prabang ever since. Daily wanderings, eats, shmoggy, games of pool, food market finds, apple flavoured shisha pipes and all around shenanigans have been the usual itinerary in this super chilled out world heritage town.
Andy loving his fish-on-a-stick find at the night food market:
John enjoying some apple flavoured goodness:
My crew at the hip n happenin' Utopia Bar.
L-R: Andy, John (yum), Erin, me, Nick
A stumble up some steps at That Phu Si temple awarded me with wonderful views of this heritage town:
The battery is running low on this mighty lil netbook. Luang Prabang to be continued.....