Chicken Soup? Sorry, First I must Kill

Trip Start Jan 02, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Aloune Guesthouse

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Louangphabang,
Thursday, March 3, 2011

We leave for Nong Khiaw around 9am. The journey is supposed to take 4 hours but due to the speed of the driver we arrived in just over 2.5hrs; heads bouncing off the roof and off each others. 

It was our plan to not stop in Nong Khiaw and head straight for Muang Ngoi, only reachable by boat. As is everything in Laos, the boat departure was very late and laid back but we noticed too many people were on the boat so we got off and got onto a second boat heading the same way. Our judgement paid off as we passed the other boat, which had broken down due to being too heavy. 

The scenery was awesome, the sun is shining and we are very happy we made the decision to head north. We feel wild once more, something we have lacked since Cambodia. We passed spectacular karst mountains, bathing water buffalo, villagers and children going about their daily routine on the river

We settle down in an inexpensive bungalow at Aloune Guesthouse, 30000kip (2.40) and check our laundry in straight away to the uber fashionable daughter of the family (the suspicion should start there...). The guesthouse is a small, family run business on a farm with animals roaming freely. We chill in our hammocks and watch the sunset behind the mountains before going for a little wander around the village with our new canadian friend, Josh. A lovely pumpkin and chicken curry later, we talk until the restaurant shuts at 9.30pm and get an early nights sleep. Electricity is supposed to run after dusk until midnight, but our guesthouse seems to struggle with this so it is candlelight for us, but we don't mind. 

Unbelievably it is raining again! It seems to follow us everywhere, but early signs in the day indicated it would brighten up. We eat and plan our trek to some villages a few miles away.

We start around 10.30am walking along a dirt track and through streams for 30 minutes until we reach the bamboo bridge and toll point, charging $1.25, which also allows access into a cave. The cave was amazing and had water eerily running through it and we stopped for a drink at a local hut before following the track into the old rice fields. After another hour, we reached the village Huay Bo, where it is possible to do home stays at Konsavanhs Guesthouse. Huay Bo is an unspoilt farming village surrounded by amazing forest karst mountains. We eat at Konsavanhs, meeting the owner and his family and consider staying the night for 5000kip each (40p!) We ask for chicken noodle soup, but Mr. Konsavanh's response was "ah sorry, no chicken, first I must kill", so we settle for pumpkin soup. We continue along a stream through the rice fields into the forest to find a waterfall, but it is dry season and there is little water. We walk back just in time for the sun to start setting and our surroundings are beautiful. 

That evening we eat at another local restaurant that offers a vegetarian buffet but Lara and Lee choose chicken curry which takes so long to prepare we presume the chicken was killed once ordered. Tonight, we break our beer silence prematurely!

It was our original plan to continue up river all the way to Phongsali without Lee and Michelle as they had limited time left before their flight to Singapore. But, not ready to split up yet, we decide to head to Luang Namtha with them to do a trek in the national park. This means another epic journey across Laos. 

An interesting morning in Muang Ngoi. After our laundry had been washed, Michelle noticed that her favourite pair of shorts were not hanging up to dry with the rest of the clothing. After a couple of days of continuously asking the young fashionable girl on their whereabouts, we only get the reply "no sorry, you no give me", even though Michelle definitely did. Jamie also realised a green vest of his was missing. Putting two and two together it didn't take a genius to realise that this young fashionable girl gets all her clothes from unsuspecting backpackers. In the night it also rained again, and Michelle was woken up to rustling underneath their bungalow. Before we left we asked the girls parents about the shorts, and the girl has a sudden change in attitude. She unsubtly "searches" underneath the bungalow, miraculously 'finding" the shorts. "Ahhh, they must have fallen out of your bag before you give me". Funny that, as the shorts smelt fresh and were bone dry after a night of heavy rain. Jamie then asked about his green vest and without hesitation went and got it from her hut, blurting out all kinds of excuses. We found the whole episode rather hilarious! 

3/3/11 31 (including 11 bus and boat)
4/3/11 15



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