Slow Boatin’

The past few days have been a blur… I woke up early Friday morning and put my bag on for the short hike to the boat pier. I showed up at 9:30am for an 11:30am boat, and am so happy I did. The boat slowly began to fill up and get more and more crowded, but somehow (and I swear I didn’t try to make this happen) I got the only seat by myself. Over time, people began to move the seats around, and get up and walk and more people were sitting alone, but I was happy I didn’t have to worry about it. The seats are simple straight backed wooden benches that loose their comfort after approximately 35 seconds. The trip went from 11:30am to 6:00pm, and half way threw people were sitting on the floor, sleeping on benches, by the engine room, anything to avoid sitting up. I spent some time goofing around with a few people from New Zealand and Australia, and made plans to meet up with them on that night, but as things go, I couldn’t find them later on.I shared a room that night with one of the people from the boat, and we were the only westerners staying in the guest house we found (for only 30,000 kip or $3USD) so we spent dinner joking with the owner and her son, who was about five or six and had a flashlight that projected an image of Pamela Anderson. This he went shining around onto my shirt, thinking it was the most hysterical thing he has ever seen in his life. I got the light from him and chased him around with it, because heaven forbid Pamela actually show up on his shirt!

The next day found me back on the boat, but this one was probably 20 percent smaller than the first boat, with just as many people. We were sitting on the gunwale, on the floor, on bags… it wasn’t until some people got off the boat that everyone was able to spread out a little and become comfortable. the same group of Aussies and Kiwis were playing poker the whole time, drinking some lao lao home made rice wine, aka moonshine, and doing a good job of enjoying the trip for everyone on the boat.
Over the two days of the trip I read all of Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, and a fair amount of Bill Bryson’s “The Complete Notes”.
Last night we got into Laung Prabang, (I ended up staying in the same place as the Aussies) and settled into a really nice old French house for $10 a night. This whole city is like a French town set among palm trees on the river, and we wandered around through the markets, taking it all in before we found a street stall that had whole plates of food, buffet style, for 8000 kip (80 cents). We sat down for a great meal of vegetarian food.

I am about to go out to explore the city some more…

Dark Sun
Fun with exposure settings. The sun over the Mekong River 

boat tops
Rows of slow boats waiting for people. The Lao families live on the boats year round. 

starholeinboat lao kids on beach
Just some others