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Mishna 'Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves' Henry David Thoreau

Barbequed eggs.......

LAOS | Tuesday, 23 October 2007 | Views [715] | Comments [2]

Laos

The dreaded bus journey from Hanoi to Vientiane really wasn't that bad!! the fact that we made it the whole way was quite an achievement from other stories I've heard.

The bus itself was very pretty on the outside painted with Laos flowers, on the inside it was very crampd and packed with plenty of produce and boxes (to be delivered along the way). They put a VCD on for us before we left, blasting out Abba and Boney M - very strange!!! Lucy reckoned it was a scene straight out of a horror film! Our 20 hour journey only had air con for 15 minutes but we did get used to it, they seemed to prefer to drive with the door open instead.

We arrived near the border early so the driver pulled into a closed petrol station and parked up there for a few hours while everyone (except me!) slept! When the border opened it took about 1 1/2 hours to pass through, we weren't really sure how the process worked, everyone just seemed to be slinging their passports at the poor officials who looked pretty pissed off! After checking out of Vietnam we had to take a very scenic walk through "no mans land" to arrive at the checkpoint for Laos. In all the journey really wasn't that bad, we did stop along the way frequently to deliver goods (what type of goods i'm really not sure!!) but it did make the whole journey a little more interesting!

Vientiane - A quiet town considering it is the capital. There seemed to be street vendors everywhere selling barbequed eggs (I didn't even know it was possible to barbeque an egg). The accommodation seemed a little pricier than elsewhere but we found a cheap, very basic room in the end. Didn't do a lot here, had a wander and went to a temple.

Vang Vieng - A very random little town with lots of bars showing re runs of friends. The following morning we made a very last minute decision to go tubing (literally giving us 5 mins to get ready). Tubing involves sitting on an old tractor wheel floating down a fast flowing river!! We did the 10 km route, the first 5km are rapids (we had a guide on a kayak to take us through this bit as it's a tad dangerous, i did manage to get stuck in a tree but luckily and embarrassingly he rescued me!!!) The last 5km are bars and the river is a lot calmer, the bars throw out bamboo or tyres on ropes to pull you in! We stayed at one of them for hours playing volleyball in the pouring rain - so much fun!! By the end of the day we were bruised, sunburnt and covered in tyre burn but it was definitely one of our top days!!!

Luang Prabang - A very pretty and relaxing town! I would love to return here one day with more money and empty bags!! The night market sold beautiful and very buyable things. We spent most of our time here relaxing. I had an hour massage for $3 which was great! (just what i needed after carrying a backpack for weeks!!!) On our last night we went for food and to a bar with some random guys Hazel met whilst out and about, it's sometimes nice to have different people to talk to!

Pak Beng - We decided to sail the rest of the way up the Mekong river on a slow boat. Luckily we're not travelling in the popular direction so our boats were relatively empty, mainly filled with local people and produce. The boat was really basic with little wooden benches, they did have thin cushions on them but by the end of the day our behinds were aching!!!!

After 9 hours we arrived in Pak Beng, a quaint little town half way to the border. We had to literally climb and scramble up a muddy bank to get to the main road (track) not so easy with a backpack the size and weight of a small child on your back! There's not a lot to do in Pak Beng and at 10:30pm the power goes out in the whole town (so it's really pointless getting a room with air con!) The next day we climbed (rolled almost) back down the bank and back onto the boat for another days sailing.

Houei Xay

After sailing for another 8 hours we arrived in Houei Xay literally 15 minutes before the Thai border closed. We wandered for ages trying to find a cheap hotel, this place is really boring and over priced, people only seem to stay here when they've missed the border, purely not by choice! We ate at a nice restaurant where Hazel and Daniel (German guy we met along the way) had an interesting "cook it yourself" dish, a lot of fun!!

Looking across the river from here you're actually looking at Thailand which is a little odd but kind of cool!

Tags: adventures tubing

Comments

1

Thanks for the newsy up-date on your travels, sounds like you are having a great time. Look forward to the next episode. Lots of love, Mumsy xxxxxxxx

  Mumsy Oct 24, 2007 8:22 PM

2

Hey Mel! Great to hear from you. Sounds like you're having a bit of a random time (stuck in a tree?) but cool to hear your stories.

Off to a Halloween party tonight. I'm going as Nibbler from Futurama. Waow!

  Weez Oct 28, 2007 7:06 AM

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