Still Nong Khiaw

Trip Start Jan 09, 2013
Trip End Jan 22, 2013

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Flag of International  , Louangphabang,
Friday, March 29, 2013

I have had no luck finding a trek group in this small town, although a guy offered me a 2-day trek with another couple. I really just wanted to do a brief hike for a day. Didn't want to do another strenuous trek in the jungle with an overnight stay in a remote village (although I have loved doing it). So I just decided to relax, eat some good Lao food, read a book, and plan for my next leg of the trip back to Thailand.

While this journey in SE Asia has been absolutely incredible, I will admit, it is tiring at times.
I'm not just talking about all the crazy activities I've recently done like trekking in the mountains or zip lining through a national reserve. The mere daily life of looking for a place to sleep, going out to find food every time I feel hungry, spending countless hours reading and researching online about where I am headed to next. Even though yesterday and today were my "days off," I've spent most of the time online researching accommodations, public transport schedules, activities, flights, and emailing companies about scuba diving programs in Indonesia.
To enter most of the countries in SE Asia, you don't need a proof of onward travel - so it's easy to wing it and figure it out as you go. But when I enter Indonesia next month, I need to provide an outbound flight, which means I need to figure out where I will go in May!
I haven't planned 2 months ahead since I left NYC. So this is giving me a bit of a headache.

But on a good note, I just booked a 4night/4 day scuba diving cruise in the Andaman Sea in Thailand in a couple of weeks. It's rated as one of the top diving destinations so I'm so excited about that!!
Then my cousin in Japan is meeting me in Koh Lanta where we will spend a week sunbathing on a white sand beach :-D. We are then going to fly together to Sumatra in Indonesia to meet some Orangutans in a jungle, then will part ways. I had planned on going to Sabah, Malaysia but a friend informed me that there is a conflict between Filipino militia and the Malaysian police since Feb. which has led to some violent events recently. Some embassies are advising travelers to avoid this region at the moment.
Damn. I guess reading the news would be helpful. I haven't tuned into news since 2012. I have no idea what is going on in the world. Perhaps I need to reassess this practice.

The smoke season here has been really bad. Yesterday and today, I could see the ashes falling from the sky! I look up to see the mountains and see black raining particles instead. This stuff can't be good for anyone's health! I don't know how locals live in this pollution for months at a time.

The lady owner of the guesthouse has 3 small children. The baby boy is only a few months old, and 2 little girls are probably around 4 and 6. The younger girl is Nan and last night, while I was on the deck typing an email on my iPad, she came over with a stack of Pringles and offered me a piece. Then she proceeded to hop on my lap and started to play with the iPad. She was so intrigued with the swiping and pinching feature of the touch screen. I showed her my photo album so she can swipe and pinch to her little heart's desire. When she came across a picture of me, she would point at the picture, then at me, acknowledging that she recognizes me.
So cute.
When she saw a picture of Darwin and Chrissy, she smiled and kissed the dogs on my iPad <3. It was so sweet!!
She motioned for us to go inside the bungalow, and I don't know if she wanted to have a sleepover or what. But I didn't want her mom to worry so I took her back to the main house. It was so dark outside, it was incomprehensible to me how a 4 year old can freely roam outside, socializing with strangers. Clearly, they don't teach children not to speak to strangers ;)

I walked to the bus station today, wanting to buy a ticket out of town tomorrow. I was informed that I should come back tomorrow AM, but a bus will not leave with less then 8 people....uh, ok, so does that mean I may not leave at all tomorrow? Apparently yes.
I will have to show up every morning until enough people in town want to get on the bus.
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Oli on

Yey for the diving. I'm looking forward to underwater photos again :-)
Good luck with the bus

Stacy Argoudelis on

No pictures of little Nan?

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