Friday, February 12, 2010

saturday february 13

on tuesday we caught the bus to chiang kong. we could learn a few things. for the princely sum of 7 dollars we gt a reserved seat, a steward on the bus, water and a bag of cookies each, and a hand towel to clean up when we arrived at our destination. then it was a taxi to the ferry, a quick ferry ride across to laos, a one page form to fill out, payment of 42 u.s. dollars, and we were in laos. we canadians pay the most to enter laos however. the most in the world. the americans only pay 35 dollars, and they bombed the hell out of them. go figure. then it was dinner and to bed.
wednesday morning we grabbed a cab to the pier and boarded out boat at 10;15 for an 11: 00 departure. the seats were hard wooden benches really not meant for 2 people, and the boat didn't leave until 12;30. our bums were sore before we even got going. nevertheless it was surprisingly fun people from all over the world were on the boat, and it was easy and fun to strike up conversations. there was beer and food onboard...and only one bathroom. surprisingly, though it wasn't pretty, they kept it clean and well stocked the entire trip. we were talking to an american viet nam war vet. he was full of great stories, but unfortunately he was racist redneck.after having too much to drink he fell in the Mekong getting off the boat. in all fairness it was a very thin plank and he is 69. we arrived at pakbeng at 6;30, found a room, had dinner and went to bed.
on thursday we arrived at the pier to start the whole process all over. this time they took all the people from two boats and put them on one. it went from bad to worse. the benches were even smaller and they were three across instead of two. once again we had a blast as we knew lots of the people quite well by then. we were able to sit on the edge of the boat with our feet hanging over..can you imagine that in canada? they would have a big wire fence and people yelling at you to get away from the edge. it was a longer day and we arrived in lang prabang at 6:30 again. we found a room, got cleaned up and met some dutch friends for dinner. a great time was had by all.
luang prabang is beautiful. a world heritage sight. yesterday we explored the town. you can see the french influence here. a very large baguette on the street stuffed with anything you want including lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, onions and chili sauce costs 1.20. everyone who speaks a little english wants to have a conversation with you, including the monks, of which there are many. for dinner last night we had a lao barbecue. a hot coal fire with a sombrero shaped grill on the top. in the brim or the moat goes the broth and the noodles and vegetables, and on the top you grill the chicken and the tofu. it comes with fabulous garnishes and egg. delicious. because of the french influence you can also get a glass of wine much easier than in Thailand.
today we rented bikes and have been exploring outside the town. tomorrow we go see the elephants and have a ride, and then it is on the plane to vietnam. we would have stayed here a bit longer but we if we didn't leave tomorrow we couldn't get out for a week because of tet. we are flying lao air...cross your fingers.
we have loved laos, both the country and the people. i would return here in a heartbeat. next posting will be from vietnam.
take care all.

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