Activity number one for today is to find another place to sleep. I got up around 10.30 and checked out. I thought I'd try one of the guesthouses mentioned in the LP guide - Zuela. It had mixed reviews on the net.
There was one room available. Twin beds but clean and cheaper than last night. I decided to take it for one night for £6. There's no fridge or tv but I don't really need them. Same goes for A/C as it's quite cold outside and I may rather need a heater. The room is basic but does the job. It could maybe use some more light and have thicker walls but you can't have everything. I think I will stay here for a few more nights.
Settled in, it was time to eat breakfast. Without walking too far I stopped by the Banana restaurant. I ordered a Banana breakfast which consisted of baguette, scrambled eggs, one miniature sausage, tea and fresh orange juice. I've added a Lao salad to get some greens. It was quite good and cost £2.5 in total.
On the way here I stopped to buy a local sim card. I tried the ETL but something was wrong with the sim so bought a Unitel card as well. It cost £0.8 and included £0.5 credit which is enough for 10 texts back to the UK. That's probably 20 times cheaper than using roaming. It also offers GPRS but can't get it to work. Maybe another day...
I signed up for a 3 day trek with Greendiscovery. There are supposed to be other three people interested and will find out in the evening. I hope they will confirm so that the trek will happen. It includes approximately 6-7 hours trekking daily through jungle and rice fields, one night in bamboo hut in the jungle and the other in a local village. Sounds interesting. I've used this company before and all the trips were really good. They use local guides and support local communities.
The price per person (assuming 4 people) is near £80.
While waiting for the confirmation I decided to get some Lao coffee (£0.40).
A few hours of wondering around the town ingot hungry;-)
I chose to go to Papaya and it was a great choice! I went for a Lao spicy cucumber salad and fried noodles with chicken plus a fresh mango shake. The food was really delicious! I finished all of it! I think I know where I will go for my dinner next time. They also organise cooking lessons and may ask about that as well. The dinner took over an hour mainly due to the fact that I started reading 'back from the brink' by Alistair Darling. It started well (not the crisis but the book;-) )
After my dinner I went back to the GD office. I was told that the other people didn't come back so unless I pay £200 I won't do the trek. Disappointed, I took my deposit back and went to ask at another agency. On the way someone shouted at me and asked if I'm looking for a trek. We talked for a while and I managed to convince Torsten to join me. With his budget I will cover the difference but it would still be better for me.
At the office we met three girls that wanted to do the trek as well. I thought it would be great but they could only do two days. They also started arguing about pricing as were told other amounts by e-mail. I talked to the guys in the office and we've worked out a deal. It meant a small discount to the trek I chose. Even better in the end!
So, on day one it's the five of us and we split the next day.
I'm looking forward to it!
The day ended with a couple of LaoBeers with Torsten. He's on a break at a university. How refreshing it is to talk to someone that is still studying. Completely different perspective.
It's bed time now as we need to be at he office at 8.45.