not all who wander are lost.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sabai Dii, Laos!

The ride from Pai to the border felt like I was in a high speed chase- only we werent running From anyone, and we weren't running After anyone. I barely slept during the 7 hour drive because I had to use all of the strength in all of my limbs to keep myself in the seat. We flew around curves, hurdled down the (thankfully) empty roads, and held on for dear life. I finally stopped crying upon our 3am arrival at the border. Perhaps it's because I was so exhausted, or so dehydrated that my body had no tears left to give. We woke up at 630am to have breakfast and get back on the road. My new traveling partner Phillip helped me with my heavy rucksack and he secured us a seat in the truck. Last night in Pai while I was sitting in the bus station with my crew, Phillip walked up with a big smile on his face, asking if I too was headed to Laos. When I said yes, he smiled an even BIGGER grin and said "perfect! We travel together!". He is 23 years old, a nurse from Germany. I've only known him about 24 hours, but he has a smile on his face the whole time. I swear- even during our brief "power nap", he slept with a smile on his face. I've nicknamed him "the gentlemen". He opens doors, helps me with my bags, carries my pillow for the boat, helps me on the boat, and helped me to navigate the total clusterfuck of a line at the Lao border. And it's not just me- he does this for everyone. Truly a lovely person. The border was mayhem. A mob of people fill out papers and then hand these papers, a small color passport photo, and your passport to the otherside. Everything is done by hand...and it's a slow process. Then- anytime between 20minutes and 2 hours- it's ready! They call out your name to the mob once or twice. You push or way through with $35usd and grab your passport with your new Laos visa. If you don't hear them call your name, it goes back into the pile. Good god almighty. Finally on the slow boat and there are more people than seats. Brilliant. Managed to score some seats together though...Phillip, myself and Sina- a German girl that I'd met a few times while in Pai. So now I am down two Dutch, and I've acquired two Germans. Already I am glad about my decision to come to Laos. Pai was great, but so was Cambodia before it as Laos will be after it. We are cruising down the amazing Mekong, sipping Beer Lao, and quickly making new friendships (that's what close quarters and long hours will do)! Sina, Phillip, Katie, Monica, Andy, Zach and I will spend a few days in Luang Prabang, then once Linda arrives we'll head to Vang Vieng for some tubing and rock climbing. I finally cracked open my Laos book and im super stoked on all that I'm reading. I wish that I had more time in Laos- I'd love to do a trek up north and see the caves towards the south- but with two weeks I'll have to keep it simple with Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientinae. I fly out of Bangkok on Saturday march 26th for Bali, so I'll have to catch a flight from Vientinae back to thailand on the 25th. I wrote up a short, loose itinerary about the things that I want to do- and of course, the food I plan to eat. Missing Mick a lot, a whole lot- but Phil is going to be a great travel partner though so I'm thankful for the company of such a fine gentleman.

Arrived in town, saw a beautiful sunset, drunk tourist from our boat was beaten within an inch of his life with a stick by an angry local- the shock tool a while to wear off. Found a guesthouse, 150bhat a night- 2 beds, so Sina and I shared a room ($2usd each). Grabbed a delicious Lao dinner with the Germans- Sina, Phil, & Arthur, Anthony (france) and Carolyn (USA). Anthony doesn't say much and Carolyn says too much-- she's a bit off. I've never had to worry about shaking someone from my travels, but she's attached herself like a leech. She won't use a squat toilet, all the rooms are "dodgy", she has to have hot water, and she's just a complete fucking weirdo. She ordered sweet and sour chicken in Laos, and is always talking about her church. This girls gotta go- but she has no plans to do so. I may have to break apart from the group, because I will not spend my 2 weeks in Laos with her. Anyways- ranting aside- Laos is great. Food was cheap and delicious, as were the beers (BeerLao). Early to bed and then back on the slow boat...

-Unknown : "Travel only with thy equals or thy betters; if there are none, travel alone."

Sent from my iPhone

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