First call today was to get to an ATM for a cash injection. Check out of our guest house and head to breakfast to meet the crew before our slow boat south to Muang Ngoi. Banana pancakes and Lao coffee all around.
Down at the boat ramp we all try our best to barter for a bargain ticket, all with no luck. All 10 of us along with a few locals hop aboard our vessel for the morning cruise down the Nam Ou river. Awesome views of the limestone karsts and the Lao mountains, floating down stream alongside water buffalo, groups of pigs and their piglets. Every turn in the river was quite simply amazing!
After a few stops we arrive at what looked like our stop; a small settlement perched on the riverside, wood huts with cushion covered balconies scattering the small climb into the village. With ease tonight's accommodation was found in the form of a balcony with loungers and a small table followed by a bedroom housing a rather large bathroom at the rear. The price tag of 30,000 kip ($4) sealed the deal.
Lunch with Amanda and Rob was quickly shovelled down from one of the cushion covered balconies spotted on our arrival. The view over the river and the sun beaming down provided the perfect time and position for a break from anything and everything.
I write today's blog while lying on the balcony of our $4/£2.60 room. The sun is low and hot. Just after it pasts Siobh knickers (drying on her make shift washing line) it's going to set behind the panoramaic mountain skyline. The view is interrupted with nothing but the river where a few Loa fisherman row up and down. For a little under £1000 we could live here for the next year. No Internet, no phone signal, no roads, just the simple life! Paradise spot number two of our Southeast Asia trip found!
After lounging around we took a stroll around the village while the sun dropped behind the mountain tops. Chickens and kids roamed the streets and dirt tracks. Bumping into a few new friends, we all headed for a stroll into the jungle along a dirt track lined with rice paddy fields and banana trees. After a short while we reached a river crossing, a cave and a wooden suspension bridge. With the sun now setting fast we had a short while to explore before heading back to the village.
A small deck lit with paper lanterns that hung from a tree created the setting for tonight's dinner. The food here has strong Indian influences, with dishes that are more familiar from an Indian take away menu. The 9 month pregnant one man band was waitress, host, chef and bar lady. Disappearing for 30 minuets to cook up a feast for our table of 4 and returning with a explosion of flavours, spice and colour! I was expecting to find good food along our travels but not expecting to find the best indian curry we have ever had. Especially not in Loas.
Good friends, food, beer and location. Today has been a damn good day!