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Archive for December 21st, 2018

Sorry for the delay in this post … We finished up our time in Luang Prabang and were up early (again) to head down to our “cruise ship” for the next leg of our journey … steaming up the Mekong to Thailand.

We were a little sad to leave … the setting was great, the massages awesome, and we realized we needed more time in a couple of locations.

After a major effort at settling the bill for a bag of peanuts (from our room “bar”) we were on our way to the boat! When we showed up at the boat, we thought maybe we were really early since there wasn’t anyone there … lo and behold, there were only going to be 4 of us on this cruise up the river, and the boat normally holds about 32 people.

Apparently, because we were cruising “up” the river there were fewer passengers. So off we went with 4 guests and 6 crew members … cruising in style! They had a cool map on board that showed where we were heading up the river.

Our first stop on the river was at the caves of Pak Ong … cave of 1,000 Buddhas. Kind of an interesting stop, but really seemed more like a tourist trap. The most informative thing here was to see the flood water line on the cave wall … wow! They had some big floods here. We did see what we think is the tiniest Buddha in the world, though!

Here’s that tiny Buddha!

We continued up the river with stunning scenery.

As we were cruising up the river I noticed the moon setting …The Chinese are building a new railroad from China to Luang Prabang, Laos.

Then we made another stop at a Village to see the villagers at work. What this really meant was to be followed around by a young girl trying to sell us a knitted bracelet … she followed us the whole time. Then we had to walk through the array of ladies sitting and weaving cloth showing us all the beautiful scarves they had made. Since we had received scarves as gifts from our last guide in Cambodia it was difficult to walk through without even considering to purchase something. We finally bought one and were happy to be back on the boat. This was a mixed village — the government had moved a hill tribe to live with the local tribe … could be the reason we stopped … to help the local economy. The four of us didn’t help it that much. Our guide did mention that some of the scarves were actually made in China … they were the cheaper ones. I did see the ugliest lion statue in the world but also (maybe) the most beautiful chicken.

Here’s Deb walking up the steep bank to visit the village. It would be difficult for an older person or someone with physical mobility issues to go to this village.Not a monkey … a lion.Definitely a rooster!

The cruise up the river was awesome … so peaceful, the crew excellent, our guide providing just the ride amount of information. We saw an array of folks along the river … animal life too.

There were so many fishing nets lining the banks … I’m surprised there’s any fish left in the river!We saw the two kinds of water buffalo … pink and black. Haha.Oh, we also saw plenty of goats!This was a farmer working in his field. Can you see him?How about now?Wow … my camera has quite the zoom! 🙂I guess this boat is waiting for the next river flood.All of the villages had these boats moored nearby. Many of them were vendors looking for wares to sell in Luang Prabang or elsewhere along the river.

We arrived just as the sun was setting at our overnight destination, Pak Beng. We stayed at the Luang Say Lodge … wow! The views were great, the lodge was rustic but beautiful. The food was excellent, the staff very attentive … of course there were only the 4 of us at the lodge at this time!

Several of our rooms had mosquito nets … and we definitely used them … made it difficult for the old guy to get up and go to the bathroom at night! Haha. I was only tangled up once or twice. Two tables for two at the lodge.We closed out the evening with this stunning view up the river.Oh … and closed it out with a drink using the local whiskey … it was very good.

We were up early again for the last portion of our cruise … as a group we told the tour guide we didn’t want to stop at any more villages … so he said ok and we spent the rest of the day cruising up to Thailand. More spectacular views and just a peaceful day. The only dark spot was that I developed a cold sometime that day and it stuck with me for a while.

Although we didn’t see many birds in Laos, the ones we saw were pretty nice!Here’s Deb coming down to the boat launch in the morning.

We made it up to Huay Xai, Laos, disembarked for a short van ride to the border crossing … we easily cleared customs and were made promptly by our next guide to Chiang Rai. He (and the driver) were really pleasant and our transfer to the hotel went well … he even stopped at the 7-11 so I could pick up some medicine. These 7-11 are all over the place! Reminds me of Texas in the 70s. Haha. It would have been nice to see some of the scenery — since it was around sunset when we started the drive, we just relaxed in the van all the way to the hotel.

Tomorrow is a new adventure!

Stumblingpiper

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