So we flew from Seim Reap to Viantienne and the capital of Laos. There was not much of note there apart from a big temple and the centre for the disabled. This worked mainly with people who were injured by UXO's (unexploded ordinance). We learned that Laos is the most bombed country in the world due to the Americans trying to destroy the Ho Chi Mhin trail during the war. But 30% of the bombs never exploded, and with the trade in scrap metal booming people, mostly young kids, make a living finding, disarming and trading these things. To be fair, their ingenuity matches the despair we felt - one guy made peg leg from the bomb shell that blew off the same leg! But people are being killed and injured daily, and with being so rural and having little health care these initiatives are all that get them by.
The other thing of note was we bumped into Paul and Jacinta again! (Irish couple we got ridiculously drunk with in Nha Trang, Veitnam). We were travelling on the same itinerary so joined forces.
Moving on to Vang Vien we met the guys and ha a few sociables the night before tubing. Now, 'tubing' is when you sit in an inflated tyre an float down a river, stopping at several bars to sample the booze and swing/slide/be thrown from a great height into the river. It was a highlight! And very impressed with wee Dr Barry being one of only two veils to do the highest trapeze into the water from 30-40ft!
But as with all these things the hi-jinx came to a bad end. Paul, after belly-bouncing me with his tube thought it was great sport. Me an Jacinta then went for an attempt only for my tube to slip over hers leading to a clash of heads. Dazed an with a sore nose, Jacinta rose victorious. I managed to get one of her teeth hit my chin and split it open. A stitch may have helped, but I doubt it.
Our packed itinerary had us moving on after a day of recovery. Getting to Luang Prebang we found the town pretty and quiet. A religious centre, all things close and you have to be at home by 12 (a rule throughout Lao but only enforced here). That didn't stop us havin fun a Kim produced Pass the Pigs again! The joys!!!
Lazin by the river, climbing a hill to see what was easily the most impressive landscape in SE Asia and visiting the night Market were all pastimes before time was again against us and we had to move on.
So ensued the worst bus trip by an ass' gallop. It took forever because the bus was crap, the driver was crap, and the road was...crap. No sleep to be had in the 14hrs, but at least we got there. And there was another boarder crossing, this time another long boat to take us across the river and into Thailand.
If Cambodia had the nicest people, Laos had the most laid-back. And while this trip did not allow the time to do all the things we wanted it allowed us enough to appreciate why this place is a jewel and well-worth a return leg.