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July 24th, Luang Prabang to Luang Nam Tha, Laos

LAOS | Thursday, 24 July 2008 | Views [641]

The tuk-tuk got to our guesthouse at exactly 9am.  Before we left, while I was getting ready Kyle went down the street to a little stand that sold baguette sandwiches with chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes and chili sauce.  At least we would have a little something for breakfast.  When we got to the bus station Kyle was desperate to find a new book to read.  He has been neglecting the blog but has been tearing through books like a mad man!  They sold just about anything you could think of at this bus station except books, especially books in English.  Out tuk-tuk had picked up another couple on the way to the bus station, Locke and Sarah are from Australia and seem to be a little younger than Kyle and I.  Locke had an Economist magazine he let Kyle read, so at least he would have something for the 9 hour bus ride.  I think he read every word in that magazine before he finally handed it back once we arrived in Luang Nam Tha.  The bus ride was pretty uneventful, I had to squat and pee by the side of the road several times, and we stopped for lunch and I had bowl of noodles that was really yummy.  Kyle wasn’t very hungry but he had a few bites of my soup.  Oh I forgot to mention, on top of the bus along with our bags was a large potted plant and a moto!  They covered all this with a tarp.  It is amazing to see the things they can pack onto these buses.  The road was pretty bumpy and curvy but our driver seemed to know what he was doing and took it easy on the bumps and curves.  The one downside to the bus ride was the blaring music they had playing throughout the entire bus.  There was a bass canon strapped in the luggage rack right above our heads.  Locke and Sarah had found the off switch for the speaker nearest them and shut it off when the driver’s helper wasn’t looking.  We had been on another bus in Laos that had a monitor that they played music videos on, and I think it is Thai not even Laos performers.  The videos weren’t so bad because the music wasn’t that loud but this was super loud.  Kyle and I had trouble hearing each other talk even though we were sitting right next to each other.

We finally made it to Luang Nam Tha and went through the procedures of getting our bags and then loading them and ourselves onto a tuk-tuk to go into the town center to find a hotel.  This always seems like a rip off since they charge per person, and can fit about 7-10 people in the back of this converted pick-up truck.  We made a little stink about it, but this older French man that was on the tuk-tuk with us made a good point that maybe this driver waited there most of the day for the bus and really wasn’t making that much.  I guess that makes sense but later we found out that this French man was trying to make it up to the far northern part of Laos to this village where they grow and smoke very pure opium.  He had never tried opium before (although he looked as if he had done every drug under the sun) and thought that this would be a good way to try it!  Wow!

So we picked a hotel, we didn’t really search that hard.  We picked the one right across the street from where we were dropped off.  It was only $6 a night, our cheapest yet, but it had a fan and hot water and was clean, really what more could be ask for?!  Kyle washed our underwear in the sink while I pouted.  I was a little drained from the bus ride and really needed some food.  Plus I was very nervous about our kayaking trip.

We ate at the restaurant next to our hotel.  I picked it because they had candles on the table; I guess I am a sucker for ambiance!  When the waiter came to take our order he had this little sleeping baby in his arms.  So we ordered in whispers, Kyle had the green curry which was the special and I had the chicken fried rice.  Kyle got a beer and I ordered a glass of red wine, I couldn’t believe they had red wine in a tiny po-dunk town like this.  The owners of this restaurant were husband and wife, she was Lao and he was from the UK.  He had been there for 4 years.  They were a very interesting couple, but they seemed to be a good team.  After I ordered my wine we watched him walk out of the restaurant and down the street still with the sleeping baby in his arms.  He had to go to the little shop next door to buy the wine!  I made sure to order two glasses since he made the special trip, but two other girls had also ordered wine (which I hadn’t realized) and the bottles were not full sized so he had to go over to the store again to get another bottle!  Dinner was good.  The owner had a movie playing on the counter that separated the patio part of the restaurant and the inside part, the movie was My Own Private Idaho with River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves, the movie looked very interesting with shots of nudity and such, which was odd to have playing in a restaurant but we made sure to add it to our Netflix cue the next time we were on the internet so we can see the entire movie.

Well that was probably too much detail about our dinner but it was rather interesting. Oh one more bit, the girls at another table ordered desert but he was out of some ingredients so when I ordered desert I just told him it was his choice, and we ended up with a pancake with sliced bananas and chocolate sauce, yum! Oh and when we were just about to leave the restaurant Locke and Sarah showed up to eat, this would become a reoccurring theme over the next 5 days, we kept running into them everywhere!

We slept well, that night even without ac.  It was off to our kayaking adventure the next morning.


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