Slow boat to Laos!
On Tuesday we set off for Laos in what promised to be a long journey but hopefully enjoyable, boating it down the Mekong river in Laos. We stayed in Chiang Kong that night which is on the thai/Laos border before hopping aboard the boat. Talk about packing as many people onto one flaoting vessel as possible. I should learn by now but it still amazes me just how little room one is afforded when using SE Asian public transport. The Mekong river landscape is certainly very beautiful, surrounded by hilly greenery much like Northern Thailand, but you do get a little bored of looking at it for 7hrs. Instead I busied myself with a book whilst the others who had wisely invested in a few Lao beers were playing cards. We managed to meet up with some of the people who had been on our trek in Chiang Mai so are travelling with them for a few days. The two girls are Irish and have just come back from a stint in Oz - something a lot of irish folk seem to do and a dutch guy called Martin. The second night we stopped off at Pak Beng, reaching it after sunset which made the assault course of disembarcation, with overly heavy rucksack somewhat difficult! I really need to throw some stuff away or send it home! Pak Beng is quite frankly a s*** hole, consisting of about 200m of run down guesthouses and restaurants where god knows what goes into the cooking! Electricity is somewhat sparse and we used candles for most of the night. Ended up in some restaurant cum bar where we invested in 8litres of vino (the white was undrinkable) and played drinking games including a novel new one introduced by a couple of Belgians we had befriended. The next day was an early start as usual and involved 9hrs on the boat, again broing as hell. Eventually arrived in Luang Prabang around 6pm yesterday and found a decent guesthouse with shock horror HOT WATER!! Tonight there is some all night temple party going on which will obviously make the 6hr bus journey we have to take tomorrow morning all the more exciting......