Good to be back in Laos
Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
48Trip End Jul 17, 2006
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Particularly thirsty that night was Jan, a Polish-Canadian, ice-hockey playing Catholic who was giving up alcohol for lent (it was Shrove Tuesday)
From Luang Prabang, seven of us headed north by bus and boat to a small fishing village called Muang Ngoi. Whilst it may now be overrun with guesthouses, the simple bamboo huts don't really detract from the typically Laos laid-back pace of life. Every hut has its own hammock, which is perfect for losing yourself in a book or just watching the river ebb by. We hiked out to a cave and after half an hour's sweaty descent we came to an underground spring with water fresh enough to drink. Another day we rented kayaks and paddled upstream until we got tired, rested on a beach and then enjoyed the considerably easier trip back. Back in Luang Prabang I watched the sun set over the city from Wat Phou Si and we had one more night at The Hive with Greg, Eve and Marie before taking a scenic minibus trip south through some by now familiar karst scenery to the popular backpackers hotspot of Vang Vieng.
The guidebooks had warned us that the town was not for everyone, with cafes showing episodes of Friends on repeat to hordes of travellers spaced out on happy shakes and opium tea
Kasima and Marie decided to Kayak to the capital city of Vientiane (well actually, they kayaked for a few hours and then took the bus the rest of the way). Alex, Eve and I decided we'd spent enough time in the sun/were too lazy and took the bus the whole way. We hooked up with Greg, Nicole and Nick in a swanky beer garden and then headed out for a shameless Tex-Mex platter and watched Englan lose yet another Six Nations clash. Vientiane is a really stylish city, with its mix of Laos and European culture mirroring its native and ex-pat (mostly NGO-worker) citizens. It even has its own Arc de Triomphe and a Scandinavian Bakery, which acts as the meeting place for the Hash House Harriers, who I had been meaning to go running with all trip
The next morning, a little worse for wear, we rendez-voused at JoMa cafe and rode out to see the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge and the trippy Buddha Park. Regrettably, we missed the Beer Laos brewery tour by half an hour on the way back. On our last night in Vientiane, and Kasima's last night in Laos, we went out for an pricey but delicious meal; one bottle of Jonnie turned into two, then three and we ended up at the only place in the city which was still kicking - the bowling alley!