Trip Start Dec 18, 2010
Trip End Jan 09, 2011

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  , Savannahkhét,
Friday, December 31, 2010

Thurs, 30 Dec 2010

9 people (including the driver, whose name was Ping Pong, no joke!) were stuck in a cramped van and we left Koh Chang at around 8am. The drive to Mukdahan should have taken 11 to 12 hours at most. It ended up taking 16 hours and we did not make it to the Thai-Lao border in time. Not only was our driver travelling at 70km/hr instead of 100km/hr (we believe it was because he wanted $$ for another day of his services) but he ended up speeding up at 9pm after we missed the closure of border patrol.

Ping Pong sped and at one point, overtook a police vehicle which had a "do not overtake" sign.  He was caught at the next checkpoint and a group of policeman were querying why he was travelling so fast.  They thought he may have been people smuggling and checked everyone's passports.  Ping Pong had to go to the local police station to sign some paperwork and pay his fine (400 baht).  Eva and Lu went into use the toilets and one of the drunken policeman tried to find them toilet paper but to no avail.  He advised them to use the toilet hose instead and then asked them for their number!

We were finally on our way again and arrived in Mukdahan at 11:30pm, went out for some local street food for supper before a very very good night's sleep.

Fri, 31 Dec 2010

We crossed the Friendship bridge between Mukdahan and Savannakhet and we were met by Uncle Jimmy at the immigration gates.  Arrived at Grandma’s house to see Grandma and to work out our sleeping arrangements.  Ended up being all the kiddies (being us, Eva, Lu and Tyson) in one room. Went out for some Lao pho and coconuts.  For 9 people, it ended up costing around A$20 in total!

Headed to the airport to buy our tickets for the rest of our trip as we could not bring ourselves to sit in a bus/van any more.  Eva and Lu were flirting with the halfie, Bon, working at the airport. 

We went to visit the local market, across the road from Grandma’s to buy some fireworks for tonight’s celebration and we managed to get 2 full bags and lots of variety (from smoke bombs, to bomb bees, sparklers, rocket fireworks, clay bomb and massive cubes of 25 fireworks) for around A$20. Dinner was by the Mekong river and we started had our 9pm fireworks.  Many others had the same idea.

We waited until 12am to for the big finale of our massive fireworks and it was spectacular!

Happy New Year everyone!

Sat, 1 January 2011

Lounging around the house this morning until heading out for Banh Canh, Lao curry and noodles, Lao coffee (gosh its sweet!) at the market across the road.  We walked around the food section as well and even saw a stall selling a sting ray!  Back to the normal stuff and we found some keyboard thongs.  Back to the house for some more lounging around, DS competition and an afternoon nap for Eva.  Then back to the market for some more shopping as the others also wanted some keyboard thongs. 

The afternoon was spent with a drive around Savannakhet to see our parents school (which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year), the temple overlooking the Mekong, the new 5-star hotel  and then the evening was spent at an internet cafe and for some bbq lamb for dinner. 

Then we hit Savan Vegas for a night at the casino.  Lu played blackjack with 600 baht to start with and minimum bet of 200 baht.  She ended with 2,000 baht and we celebrated with cake and ice-cream on her.

Sun, 2 January 2011

We headed out for some Vietnamese food and it was SO good!  The best meal we’ve had in Savannakhet by far.  Then back to the house to get ready for our flight to Vientiane.
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