24.01.2011 30 °C
Another sunny day, with a cool one in my hand. oh its tough being a tourist!
After Chiang Mai we did a quick stopover in Chiang Rai, it turns out there was not a whole lot to do but lounge by the pool so we took it like champs and did just that. Our "rock star" budget is doing very well for us, even when we try and stay somewhere dirt cheap we still end up with a pool and hot water, booyah!
The two days to follow was our journey to our next country Laos, "land of the elephants" so I'm told, oh and the coffee is great too! We had a few options to take, option A: a 12 hour bus ride...NO. Option B: a two-day long-boat ride or option C: a 6 hour fast-boat. Option C sounds like a great idea doesn't it? and you're probably wondering why we didn't take it? (well I know my Mom isn't wondering why) but for the rest of you...heres why Those risky enough to take on this feat are required to wear helmets and lifejacks at all times because of the low water levels. The levels create a great flipping ground for the boats because of the hidden rocks lying just beneath the water's surface. 4 fella's in our group had decided to take on this venture and risk their lifes...the guide asked them infront of all of us "Are you sure you want to do this...are you sure....?" anyways two of them took the 12 bus ride and yes the other two lived, we saw them today...arriving one day ahead of us.
Back to our long boat, the boat seats about 70, relatively comfortably. There are benches with tables, laying grounds and some seats facing forward. However, we didn't have 70 on our boat, we had 110, plus one rooster and one toilet eek! By the end, we were all super close and comfortable with each other and enjoyed the ride. Our own lil "Noah's Ark." Our handy guide recommended us to buy cushions for the journy and it was a great thing we did, wooden floors will hurt anyone's bottom after 6hrs.
To say the least, the views are amazing and the ride went quicker than we thought it would, with our first night spend in Pack Bang. A very small community on the side of a mountain, using only generators to run the town. The town's income comes mainly from the boat tours. Diana and I were well aware that everyone on our boat and the other boat heading in the same direction, plus one other from the opposite direction were all planning to sleep in the same little town that night, so we had to act fast! Together we decided Id get off the boat quick, run up the mountain and get us a room before the others unloaded their bagged and trudged up behind, while Diana stayed with the bags. (Mastering both sets of bags on those evil stairs). So I did just that, after a million stairs my "tunnel princess vision" led me to this beautiful resort over-looking the river...it was crazy expensive. I somehow managed to pull myself away from this dream and jump back into reality and find us a great place for $3.00 a night. what a steal! So I'm running back down the hill with my key and hand to meet Diana and grab our bags while people are shouting to me "Team Canada, how did you get a room so fast?" (my new nickname after wearing my red canadian sweater so much) I think I may have been the first one to get a room in the whole village.
We met some great people on our journey, lots of time to chat and get to know people when you only have enough space for your bottom. Rum and cokes all around I say....too fun.
So after another 8hour day on the long boat, we arrived safe at our destination Luang Prabang where the once group of two had turned into a group of 9. Nine people trying to make a decision on where to stay was borderline disastorous and brutely painful! After an hour of haggeling and down-right refusal we finally settled on a less-than rock-star style of a place....but we're all together and thats the main thing right
Cheers to one country down and 3 to go! Until next time.....
Thank you to all the comments, much appreciated!