Kate and I arrived in Tha Khaek 2 days ago after what seemed to be the longest 6 hour bus ride ever. We put our bags under the VIP bus and proceeded to get in. We walked onto the bus and realized that it was full. The person working then directed us to 2 of the 8 seats under the bus. Down there with us included 1 motorbike, about 15 large boxes everywhere, a tv blaring a movie dubbed in Lao and about 12 people. Not to mention a shard of metal sticking out from the door and into my arm. When we arrived we quickly realized that we were 2 of only a handful of tourists in the town. We found a guesthouse in our Lonely planet guidebook (the only time we used it and the guesthouse was not full). We ended up getting the last room available. Lucky since there are not many other guesthouses here.
Yesterday we took it easy and walked about the town. We ended up finding a market where they had clothing stores directly across from meat vendors. Doesn't sound so weird but they were chopping up 1/2 a cow within a meter of a dress boutique.
That night we went to a restaurant along the Mekong River that was recommended in our lonely planet book. While there we got talking to our waitress who was taking English in school. She really enjoyed talking with us and practicing her english. Near the end of our meal she invited us to go to a cave party with her and some of her friends from school. Kate and I said sure why not! She asked us where we were staying and said she would pick us up the next day at 10 am.
This morning Kate and I woke up early to get ready, have breakfast and wait for our friend Buoy to arrive. By 11 am Kate and I were beginning to think we had been stood up. Just as we were getting up to go back to the room Bouy and her friend walked into the courtyard. She said there was a bus waiting for us at the end of the driveway. We walked up to an oversized van filled with about 20-25 Lao people cheering and singing and drinking BeerLaos. The entire ride we sang, drank beer and chatted with the locals. We arrived at the caves and were amazed. It was filled with staircases that looked like they belonged in Hogwarts from Harry Potter. We explored the caves with the group who all separately asked us the same standard questions like what is your name? How long have you been in Laos? How long are you staying? Where are you from? How old are you and finally the one that threw us off the most Are you married? We must have answered these questions at least 10 times each. We finished exploring the caves and went for a Laos picnic lunch. We had spicy papaya salad, sticky rice, some kind of pickled vegetable, a platter of mixed greens and BBQ'd fish. It was delicious. We ate for over an hour and they just kept bringing out more food and beer. When everyone had finished eating they all started shouting Dance! Dance! We obliged and made our way to the dance floor. The music was a guy singing classic Laos songs karaoke style and our group showed us the traditional Laos dances to accompany them. We all got into two lines facing each other and danced slowly around in a circle swaying our hands. When these songs was over they played a bit more of an upbeat song, this is when Kate and I really got our groove on. All the boys left the dance floor and the girls got in a dance circle and one at a time went into the center to bust a move. Next we did what seemed to be the Laos macarana. We didn't really get it but a few of the girls grabbed us and taught/dragged us around the dance floor. We seemed to have gotten it just in time for the song to end. After the dancing we went back the the picnic area and tried some delicious banana chips. They all cleaned up the mess from lunch and we headed back to the bus. Kate and I tried to help them clean up but that was apparently rude and we were told to go wait at the bus. Before we got on the bus we had a major photo shoot. Everyone all crammed into the photo. The guys were all fighting over who got to sit next to Kate and I. They were all yelling I am handsome! I sit there! After the photo shoot we all loaded into the bus once again. On the way into town we dropped of crates of empties and picked up some full BeerLaos and headed to another party at their school. Kate and I were very jealous and told them all we wished our field trips were that fun. They continued to play music, sing songs, chat and play bocci ball. A little while later they brought us another feast. We had sticky noodles, more mixed greens, pork and probably the best peanut sauce I have ever had. That with even more BeerLaos. We only had a few cups so every beer they gave us they made us chug so they could pass the cup on. After a few more hours and a little buzz later Kate and I ventured back to our guesthouse for a much needed rest. So much for escaping vang vieng for a remote Laos town to take it easy!
That's all for now.