Cheap hotels and tasty food.
28.05.2006 32 °C
Bloody hot here!
that is the first thing I have to say... no, it's beautiful here. lovely as a matter of fact.
Getting across the border was really easy. got out exit stamps from thailand, hopped into a tiny little motor boat for a 2 minute ride and we were over. Payed our fees and waited about half an hour for our stamps and we were in. made our way down to the slowboat dock after buying some snacks, and bought our tickets at the pier. In organizing this outr selves we payed 1/3 of the asking price from Chang mai. All of the travel people tod us it wasn't possible but we found out via other peoples experiances and from talking to the locals that we could infact do it ourselves and it worked very well...
anyhow. the boat we got on was a two slow boat from Huay Xai, down the Mekong river to Luang Prahbang with a stop in Pakbeng for one night. The journey was 14 hours total, 6h the first day and the remaining 8 the next. Luckily we are in the low tourism season, so the boat was not too packed, as it was a really long narrow boat crammed full of wooden bench seats, open right to the air. the ride went suprisingly fast with a good book, a deck of cards and some fellow canadians we met on the boat. one close call we had.... the river was one of those swirly types... with lots of conflicting currents and an alarming number of rocks and shallow bits (there is a fast boat that only takes 6 hours total, but it is ear peircingly loud, ttakes only 6 people and you are required to wear a crashhelmet because many of the boats hit the rocks...) and yeah, anyhow... our boat got into a sticky stituation, a current that took it right toward some rocks. our navigator managed to avoid the rock face and stteered us into a some calmer swirling waters before we gently beached ourselves... with some bamboo poles and a number of attempts to get back into the flow without hitting the rocks, we were back on our way. everyone who was nodding off was now quite awake... on the banks of the river all the way, tribes people could be seen with various nets and bamboo rods set up to catch fish. little naked kids paying in the shallows and small, shallow pan boats shuttling along the shorelines... very beaufiful scenery between the rugged treed hills and the jagged rock formations with multilayered beds of sand deposited my by the river during a former course...
Pakbeng was nice enough for a little town without electric power... well, they had generators running into the evening and when people were done buying drinks for the evening and such, candellight prevailed. Brandon and I payed 100 baht for a room, $50 baht each ($1CAN = 34 baht, do the math!) but it didn't have electricity at all and the shower was pretty shit... but hey, it's less than 2 dollars. cannot complain.
Oh and my last post mentioned wanting to get away from people trying to sell you shit all the time... no luck on that one. it's just the same here... they speak a different language and drive on the right side of the road, (where there are roads... there is a reason we too a two day boat, it would have taken 3 or 4 days by bus, as there are only dirt roads (one paved road) and very unreliable busses in this country) here is not so bad. everyone harrasses you when you get off the boat, then it's ok.
Checked out the night market here in Luang Prahbang after checking into our room, which cost us 40,000 kip, which is 150 baht, which is $4.50 Canadian, for both of us... $2.25 each a night and it's realy nice. hardwood floors, revolving fans, dimmable lights, a good shower, nice beds, screened windows, toilet paper. luxury... and it's one of the more expensive budget places!
Checked out the night market last night.. beautiful goods, stupid low prices. cheap silks and woodcafts... clothing is very cheap. you can get a pair of pants and a shirt - locally made, local style for less than $5 canadian.
Went to visit a few Wats today (a wat is a temple) Wat Xieng Thong, build in 1560 was a verry nice one... first ones in Laos we have seen.
ok. time is running out. I put up some photos! in the photos section. they are of the last week or so, I ave already burned a couple of CD's from thailand so there will be a chunk missing, but you can see a bit of what is going on in this part of the world.
ok. plans for ytomarrow, check out a local cave filled with buddhas and a giant waterfall... maybe get a nice Laos massage, as they are about half the price of Thailand! life is tough. hahah
alright. will be in touch. planning on heading down tro Vang Vien day after tomarrow. should get a chance to write from there.
much love and I'll be in touch.