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Muang Sing

LAOS | Tuesday, 20 November 2012 | Views [930]

Monday 19th November 2012

We hire a scooter and head North.  The  scenery is beautiful, although the weather is quite cloudy and cool.  The views are of lush green mountains, a lot with rubber tree plantations on them.  We pass through various villages, which comprise of wooden huts on stilts, some with cardboard around the bases. To say I will never moan again about a bit if damp, is an understatement, when you see how these people have to live. Yet again, we get children shouting, "Sabaidee" at us and one group of about 6 kids, all stood in a row on the roadside, so we could do 'high 5's' as we passed.

We arrive at Muang Sing around noon.  We look at quite a few rooms to rent, they are all very basic, that said, they are also very cheap. We end up in the Chanthimleng Guest House and once the staff have got up off the mattress from behind the counter, we pay our 60,000 kip (4.80p) and check into our room. We are the only guests in the hotel and we have the most fantastic views over the mountains. We are thinking of re-writing travel books, - the Lonely Planet which has been our bible in every country we have visited, just seems to see the good in everything. For example, our guest house - 'Lovely rooms with en suites and hot showers' = 'Tired' room with nylon rope holding the curtain up, bedding  so thin that you can see through it and the 'en suite' is 3ft x 4ft, the shower is almost above the loo and the sink leaks every time you turn the tap on. (And that's just one example!).

We have a walk around town, to find somewhere to eat, we find 'Thai Lu', it appears that all the tourist's eat here. We  have been sat about 2 minutes, when the first of the hill-tribe ladies come in, selling there wares. We recognize some of them from Muang Namtha, which is a 2 to 3 drive away. We have a usual banter with them.  We are wearing the one's we bought of Elu a couple of days before, so if you're lucky, they don't persist too much, on the other hand, if you have bought one, maybe you'd like some more!!  I do end up buying one more off a very persistent, but smiley lady!, this upsets the other one, whom I didn't buy off.  She starts pretending to cry and all the other diners are wondering what's going on. It was all very amusing.  If we don't' want any of their 'hand-made' wares, may be we would like some of their 'home-grown' wares.  Three times we discreetly get offered weed! - and then Elu turns up! (if you read our last blog, you'll know what a character she is).

We are near her village.  She is of the Akha tribe. She asks us to go with her, to her village for the night. We can eat and sleep there and take photo's. A lot of the tour operators offer this trek, obviously if we do it direct with Elu, she can pocket the money.  We decline her offer..... several times!  (Not being funny, we're already moaning about our room, that we have paid for, that has a proper bed and 'en suite', - so sleeping on a mattress on the floor of someone's shack, peeing in the bushes and washing in the river, isn't really doing it, for me).  

The town is quite small and very quiet. We have an early night, as we are off to market in the morning, at dawn! (according to the Lonely Planet, this is the best time to go, - it had better be!).

Up at 6 a.m. Open the shutters and there is a thick mist over the fields and mountains. 

We head to market. All of the hill-tribe women are selling their fruit and veg, along with live chickens, (one of which we see, being put in to a carry bag along with the veg) and fish,  some dead squirrels and other furry creatures! I love watching the characters, one lady, had obviously walked in the dark, as she was still wearing her head-torch! We see some of the sellers from yesterday and they all 'Sabiadee'.

We are only 10 Kim's from the Chinese border, so decide to go there before we make our way back, just to say 'we have'!

Make our way back to Luang Namtha, avoiding the small herds of cattle that are being moved.

The sun starts to shine, so we stop and have a walk to a small waterfall en-route. A small boy appears with tickets and we part with 20,000 kip (1.60) for the pleasure!

An unusual, but pleasant couple of days.

Move on to Muang Prabang tomorrow - a 9 hour bus ride away.


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