And other ass-related adventures!
07.07.2008 - 09.07.2008 28 °C
It had been a long long last night in the hill tribe village with our rat buddy 'splinter' doing gymnastics over our heads, so suffice to say we were very very tired and particularly grumpy the next morning! Problem was we had to do a rally trip in the back of a jeep back down the mountain to chiang rai, and then get a cramped public bus for 3 hrs to the border with Laos at Chiang Khong, and a longtail boat across the river to Huay Xai and Laos baby!!
We'd already heard and read about how laid back/relaxed/lazy the people in Laos are and we got our 1st taste of it straight away at immigration. We filled out our forms and gave them in to the guy at the checkpoint with our passports, he filled in his side of the form and then just put them beside him and told us to wait. Fair enough i thought there's prob more to be done, so we sat there for an hour and he left the passports beside him, didnt touch them again, dozed off for half an hour, and then just gave them back to us without doing anything extra! Totally pointless! But thats Laos, and we grew to love it!
We managed to find a bed then in a clean guesthouse and we were delighted to see no rats, no spiders, no giant man eating bugs of any type and a proper toilet and shower. My joy at the toilet soon turned to hate though - ya see they arent really prepped here for the sheer scale of a hungover irishmans emmm, how shall we say.....deposit?? Much chaos and disgust followed, there are now no official boundaries left between myself and lorraine....she has seen too much and is forever scarred!
The friendship guesthouse was fairly basic accomodation in the main part of HuayXai town.. although it was like pure luxury after the hill tribe hut.. a propertoilet!!! ahhhh the simple pleasures!! Short lived pleasure though - I didnt even get the chance to pee properly before Rob clogged the damn thing with something i have never seen the like of before in my life!!! Sweet lord have mercy - i swear that thing had a heart! To be fair i neverseen Rob as frantic in my life.. He did everything in his power to try & resolve the unsinkable problem but to no avail..
I flushed and flushed but to no avail, it was goin nowhere. Apparently i got up in my sleep in the middle of the night to flush, but still nothing. I had to come clean to the owner the next day. But 1st the maids had to find out cos they pretty much barged us out of the room. I warned them, i did warn them to stay the hell out of that room but they were too curious. We LITERALLY heard SCREAMS from them when i was downstairs confessing all to the owner. He raced upstairs and i followed sheepishly. He went to flush again and before i could shout "NOOOOOOOOO" it was to the brim again.......sweet jesus it was horrible. But very very very funny!
Definitely one of the funniest moments was when we were downstairs checking out & we could hear the screams from the maids upstairs - Rob nearly died with embarrassment but i nearly fell over from laughing!
I couldnt wait to get out of Huay Xai at that stage so we departed for the slowboat.
Now so as you can poss see from our travel map its a long auld trip from Hauy Xai to our destination Luang Prabang. 2 days in fact on a boat sailing down the mighty mekong river with a stop off halfway for the night in a town called Pak Beng. The boat itself was ok, about 50 people on it all sitting on the most sadistic of wooden benches. Only about a foot wide, if even, so our asses got a severe workout - hadnt mine been through enough already eh?!?!
On the slow boat down the Mekong.
Now the journey itself is an experience, you almost forget the pain in your cheeks as you struggle to take in the surrounding countryside. Huge mountains border the muddy river which can be quite strong at times (we saw some huge whirlpools), and we pass the odd tribal village dotted on the mountain side with the local fishermen plying the waters. But mostly, its just pure wilderness and jungle on a scale neither of us had ever seen before. It really was beautiful. Until we actually got to the stopover town of Pak Beng at the end of the 1st day.
Rough waters on the Mekong.
It was pretty weird but we actually arrived in Pak Beng 2hrs quicker than myself & Rob predicted which was class because we had literally lost total contact with our posteriors at this stage.
It was almost dark when we arrived to the guesthouse which our guide had kindly booked us into! The room had a thick musty smell & we figured they hadn’t changed the sheets in a week (at least). It wasn’t until people began leaving & refusing to stay there that we started to get a little concerned but we decided that it would too much hassle to look for somewhere else so we stuck with it! In Pak Beng there is a curfew at 10.30 pm whereby the electricity in the whole town is shut off & the streets go dead so we were quick to get out so have a look around. Pak Beng can only be described as a bit of a hole & it really doesn’t have much character at all. Although we did make the most of it! We met up with a couple of the guys from the boat & ended up going out for a lovely Indian dinner (our first dinner in Laos is an Indian – go figure!) we had a couple of beers & a good laugh getting to know the guys! This is how we came to meet Toni, Breezy, Joe, Christine & Trish & Peter.
We also got offered opium by a guy working in our guesthouse (don’t worry we stayed strong & resisted! You wont be seeing us on ‘Banged up Abroad’!) We got as much sleep as possible in a bed bug ridden little bed & were happy to leave the seedy little town the next morning for the second leg of our slow boat journey!
Pak Beng really was in th middle of complete wilderness in bandit country but we did enjoy it all the same. Our second day on the boat proved to be a tad testier, all the strength had left our bums and it just plain hurt the whole way. We didnt care how nice it was outside we just wanted it to be over. The boat was fuller today for some reason as well and we barely got a seat together. It took another 7 and a half hours, but we finally made it to the world heritage town of Luang Prabang.............and my god was it worth the pain!
Some tribal kids along the banks of the Mekong.