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Thailand / Laos Part VII: Vientiane


Luang Prabang had marked the halfway point of our trip, and we had managed to cover a lot of ground in just under two weeks. There had been a lot of moving with trains, buses, and boats, and all of them had seemed to have taken a long time to get from one point to another. As we began our journey back to the south with a visit to the capital city of Vientiane, we were staring down an approximate 10 hour bus ride over Laos’ questionable roads.

Considering our remaining time and wanting to ensure we stayed on schedule, we opted to forgo the long bus haul and instead flew from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, which took all of about 40 minutes.

Both airports were relics right out of something you might have seen behind the set of Casablanca – without changes or upgrades. Thankfully, the plane was a little more modern. Vientiane airport was especially dated with its yellow walls and luggage carousel that protruded from a hole, out in a straight line. It was the only luggage carousel in the airport (which was really just a small room,) and was just a 15 metre-long old-school conveyer belt. “I guess this airport doesn’t see a lot of action,” Maria noted. I wanted to take photos, but whipping out my camera and taking pictures in a socialist capital’s tiny airport might not get me where I was going any faster.

We’d made a reservation ahead of time, and gave the name of the hotel to the taxi desk. They wrote up a chit and like that it was done. The hotel had wanted to charge us $15 USD for pickup. The airport taxi was $7.

Not far from the airport he brought us down a potholed back alley and through the gates of the hotel villa. It was old, but with a certain Laotian charm. Checking in, we were shown to our room and found it as we had always found pre-booked hotel rooms. Acceptable, but in no way exceptional. I think the biggest factor for me was that the door didn’t quite fit the frame. Both the top and the sides were askew, and I had to stuff the gaps to keep the swarm of mosquitoes out. Once that had been done, I went to work killing at least a dozen mogies that had found their way in.

I hate mosquitoes.

It should be said that I really, really hate mosquitoes. I haven’t mentioned it until this point, but who can stand being woken up in the middle of the night by the buzzing of mosquitoes as they try to get you in your sleep? My adrenaline starts pumping and I can’t get back to sleep, then I’m not sure if I should just get up, turn the lights on and hunt it down. Plus, they carry malaria and other diseases. And then the itchy part. So I would much rather stay in a room that has at least taken some preventative measures against them – screens, mosquito net over the bed, anything that can ensure I will actually get to sleep. Many places on our trip hadn’t bother to consider these things, and just shrugged off the mosquitoes as a part of the picture.

Our savior that night was a ceiling fan at the foot of the bed, between us and the door. I left it on all night and the air current barrier it created had served as a guardian from any mosquitoes that might have been left in the room.

Vientiane

We had been about a 15 minute walk outside of the city centre. It didn’t take us long to find it, through a seemingly sketchy area. I don’t know enough about it and probably never found any bad neighbourhoods, but I never felt unsafe in Laos. The same was for Thailand, except for our first night in Bangkok where I felt vulnerable in the crowded streets with the balance of our bags on our backs.

We knew we had found the city centre when we saw street after street with restaurants and tourist hotels. Having a quick glance around, it was quickly decided that we would be switching hotels the next day, in order to be closer to the action.

The city definitely had a different feeling than Luang Prabang. More urban. It was hard to see much since we were on foot and many things were closed down and metal-gated, but we would have a chance to explore the next day. There was a slew of restaurants on either side of us, and we opted for a place that had a small balcony overlooking the street. It was operated by a French ex-pat (surprise! Most of the tourists we saw in Laos were French) and it wasn’t priced on the cheap side, but again we didn’t really care.




Maria’s beloved sticky rice


Most of touristic Laos was not very cheap at all. Sure it’s cheaper than you might find in North America, but certainly not any cheaper than Thailand (perhaps more expensive,) and definitely not cheaper than South Korea – prices we have since become accustomed to. In Laos, most supplies have to be imported, so you are going to pay for that. Don’t go to Laos or Thailand expecting to pay dirt cheap prices unless you want to literally sleep in the dirt. If you want to travel and have any kinds of standards for where you want to stay you will find things are fair (if you’re not booking online.) They’re not really expensive, but it’s not cheap. (Okay food from a street cart is still cheap.) You can certainly always pay more for fancy hotels if you like. And with online booking, it must be said again, that you are paying for the reassurance that you have somewhere to stay when you arrive. Nothing more.

After dinner we did some enquiring at a few hotels and found, for the same price, places that were extraordinarily better. First thing in the morning, we grabbed our bags and sorted out the new room. Availability was low, so we upgraded a bit to the nicest room we’d had yet. Which was to serve me well later that night.

We rented bikes and decided to explore with a city map. My bike was a real hotrod. As I began to peddle I could feel the left side sticking a bit, and assumed it was a bent pedal shaft. Maria noted shortly after that my rear tire was completely warped, wobbling all over the road as we cycled around all day.

We’d decided to take a break from temple visits. It had been all temples all the time time since we’d arrived, so at least for this stop we’d decided to give it a break. Here’s what else we found:




We had lunch in a sketchy food court,
where this poster warned us of the dangers of opium.

The museum, no photos allowed inside.




The night before, I had spotted this intriguing antique and curiosity shop with a sign that read “coffee house” on the side. As we passed it in the day and saw its doors open, I figured it was a good time to get off the bikes. What treasure we found inside.


Jina Vanida, princess and hostess, tends to the details

Two offerings for Maria. Jina’s favourite bracelet, and a drawing of Maria.
Perfect eyes!

The best coffee I have ever had. A liquid truffle.


click for larger

Maria’s dreams come true – real cheese!

We’d bought some melon juice in a bottle the first night we were in Luang Prabang, which had been about 3 nights before. It had not been refrigerated after the first day. I figured I might as well get rid of it since we’ve been carrying around. So I mixed into a drink, and found that there were chunks of melon in it. By the time I finished it, I had forgotten that I hadn’t mean to swallow the fruit, but it was too late. Oh well.

I woke that night at about 3am with a throbbing in my stomach. I was hoping it would pass, but knowing it had been bad enough to wake me up wasn’t a good sign. Within a few minutes I was in the bathroom enjoying all the symptoms of food poisoning. I’d had an attack at 3, and another at about 5. For good measure I threw up again around 8.

I’d hoped that would be it, and that I would be okay to travel. We had already planned to check out early and get the 9am bus to Nong Khai, Thailand, which would have meant exiting at Laos customs and re-entering Thailand. The bus ride was only about 25km, but everything in between would require a certain amount of physical strength.

There was no way I was going to make the 9am bus. There was another one at 11, and I figured as long as I had a couple of extra hours to wait out my stomach, that I could probably make the trip. I’d never had food poisoning before, and was so grateful to have had Maria there to help. If it hadn’t been for her, no doubt I would have had to stay an extra day to recover. She packed our things and all I had to do was get dressed and drag my bags to a tuk-tuk, who took us to the bus station for some price I gladly paid.

In hindsight I can’t believe I made it to Nong Khai. We filled out our paperwork and shuffled through a line to exit Laos, re-boarded the bus, drove a few meters down the road to Thai immigration, and unloaded (with our bags, for possible inspection) to do it all again. Any other day it would have been a simple ninety minutes at best, but this day it took every bit of measured strength I could muster. By the time we had arrived in Nong Khai. I was better enough to regain my stubbornness and walk out of range of the bus stop and overpriced tuk-tuks with my luggage, until we found one that took us to our hotel for a more reasonable rate. The smells of street food however, were testing my will not to vomit with every step I took.

Next: Thailand / Laos Part VIII – Nong Khai

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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Life Abroad

 

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Thailand / Laos Part VI: Luang Prabang

That last post was a bit high on the whine about obnoxious tourists, but I’m not going to spend any more time on that for the rest of these posts. It’s out of my system and there’s too many other things to mention.

We arrived in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site as the sun set, and bolted from the crowd lingering for their luggage at the boat. There was a road that paralleled the river, and we decided to follow the string of hotels lining it.

The charm was immediately obvious. Laos had once been colonized by the French, and as a result, their architecture was largely in the French colonial style of the early 20th Century. Even now, where there was much new construction underway throughout the hotel district (ensuring an early rise every day,) all new buildings maintained the style of the old, giving the city a distinctively Asian-European feel.


Wood buildings, slatted window shutters, patio cafes, and a view of the river as it rolled on by gave the first impression of a place where we were going to get cozy very fast. There had been plenty of development for tourism, but it wasn’t overt and in your face like it had been in Chiang Mai. There was definitely a different feel here.

We hadn’t made reservations so we checked in with a few of the hotels further down the strip, but they were booked. We found one that offered us a special rate, but would only be available for that night. The room was elegant, and we took it. It was completely dark due to the wood walls, with a desk, vanity, tv, fridge, closet, safe, and a modern bathroom with a shower stall instead of just a bathroom with a showerhead inside it, as most of Asia seems to use. It was really a nice room.

We cleaned up and went on a wander for dinner, and found a place nearby that was clearly on the upper end for Luang Prabang. After the last few days we’d decided to treat ourselves a bit between the room and the meal. I tried the local pineapple whisky. Not bad. A bit sweeter than I usually like, but still good.

We wandered around after dinner and found the night market. While similar in style to the Thai night markets, this one was markedly different. There were many more handmade goods such as blankets, scarves, duvet covers, pillow cases, and anything else that could be sewn by hand. A lot of these things were not just rammed together in a factory somewhere else. These vendors had been making blankets etc. for a long time, and you could see the workmanship just by examining it closely. Before we left a few days later, we had bought a blanket from this market. My grandmother and my mother have been making quilts and blankets for years, and I have grown up seeing the kind of work that goes into them. I recognized the worth of what I was seeing and made sure we got one before we left.

We bought our blanket from her, similar to the ones on the right.





We also found a lot of silver shops in Luang Prabang. Really beautiful and ornate work, made locally in Hmong villages and elsewhere. Maria finally convinced herself to get a silver dragon bracelet that caught her eye. She never caves to purchases on our travels like I do. It was nice to see her finally get herself something that she really liked.

Our first night in Luang Prabang showed us that we really had happened on something quite different and somehow authentic that I hadn’t felt yet on the trip. Other than perhaps the weekend market in Bangkok (which I will come to in the last post.)

The next day we rented bicycles and toured the outer ring of the city, having a look at where the people of the city lived beyond the tourist area where we had located ourselves. Lumber yards, roadside food stands, a scooter loaded with a chicken on one side, a live goose on the other. A dusty stadium where two young girls combed the grounds, collecting garbage with scrunched faces under the mid-day sun. As we circled back around and re-approached the city centre, we spotted a temple on a nearby hill that caught our attention.

I met a young monk here who had told me of his interest in studying English. I took the opportunity to ask him questions I’d had about the young monks you see everywhere in Thailand and especially in Laos. He explained how there were junior monks and senior monks, and how the junior monks are assigned all of the general chores for the grounds. The monks his age had been doing some construction on the site, pouring new concrete for the past couple of months. The job was half finished.

“I’ve been thinking about leaving to go study.”

“So how does that work?”

“Well, you just tell them you want to leave, then you leave.”



So being a monk was completely voluntary, and though not all young men did it, it was considered highly esteemed to have done it. Similar to Thailand, where I had heard that most young men spend some time studying as a monk. It can’t be a bad thing to spend time as a student of spirituality, as opposed to a mandatory term in the military. Maybe that’s what lends to the generally laid-back attitude in both countries.

We had intended to stay for at least a day, but considering how much effort we had made to get there and what we had found, we stayed for three days. I would have stayed for longer had we the time. Luang Prabang really did feel like a Shangri-La deep in the heart of the country, a city in a forest and holding true to a laid-back river lifestyle.

On one of our days there, we were walking by a temple complex and saw a series of black cars pulling up and a lot of security getting out quickly. Something was up. A guy was headed into one of the temples, flanked by serious people, so we waited to see who it was. The Laotians had gathered and were all waiting for glimpse of him. When he emerged a few minutes later, he stopped for photos and a bit of glad-handing before disappearing with his entourage again. I got a few photos of him before he was gone. Turns out it was Thaksin Shinawatra, a highly controversial ex-Prime Minister from Thailand who was ousted by military coup a few years back.




There’s not much more to say, so here are some images.










Typography FAIL. Curls AND comic sans on one banner.

Mint Lime smoothie












We arose early one morning to watch the monks collect their alms.



And we also spent an afternoon at the museum (former royal residence) and surrounding temples. We weren’t allowed to take photos in the royal residence.






Here are some larger panoramas (click for larger.)

From Phu Si hill facing south-west with the Mekong River.


From Phu Si hill facing north-east.


If you are in the region of Thailand and Laos, go to Luang Prabang. Especially before “things change,” as I keep hearing they will due to the continual choking of the river upstream in China for damming projects. Or before Laos is further developed and spoiled by tourism as Thailand might be.

Next: Thailand / Laos Part VII – Vientiane

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Life Abroad

 

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Thailand / Laos Part V: Chiang Khong and the Slow Boat to Luang Prabang

This post runs a little long, so if you’re just looking for information about whether or not to do it – the short version is don’t do it unless you’re the type of person who would enjoy being stuck on a floating frat party for 2 days.

This was something I’d been looking forward to for the whole trip. Upon the insistence of two separate friends, we had decided to take the slow boat from the north of Thailand across Laos, into the city of Luang Prabang. I’d heard only good things about Laos, specifically that it was as Thailand might have been 20 years ago before being overrun by tourists. We were certainly tired of feeling like so many things we had seen were like store fronts meant to showcase and collect money from passing tourists, so the further we went on our journey, the more I had anticipated our journey into Laos.


We arrived in Chiang Khong after dark, and found our accommodation a half kilometer down the road. It was nice. A wooden complex of rooms joined by a series of porches that looked out over the Mekong River. It was so dark out that it was hard to see anything, but a hotel across the river was having a party, the music wafting directly across at us. The lights of the hotel shimmered off the river, the only indication that the river was there at all.

We took care of business and finally got online for a few minutes. That is one part of travel I really enjoy. At home I am usually online most of the day in one form or another, and living a large part of my life through the interface of a computer screen. On vacation it’s great to be able to ‘get off the grid,’ so to speak, for days at a time.


We ordered some dinner (coconut-based curry again!) and were prepared to settle in when we realized something was niggling at us during the whole meal. Nearby was a table with a few other travelers, but one in particular, a young American woman, was dominating the conversation with her experiences in Thailand and abroad. At first we paid no mind; it was a generic travel conversation that you hear anywhere on the road. But then we realized she wasn’t stopping, and that the other three people she sat with didn’t speak the whole time. The more she spoke, the more Maria and I just looked at each other. Here was another 22 year old who had traveled out into the world, learned some things, then had to share it with everyone they met as though what they had done was entirely exclusive and everyone just had to hear about it.

Half bemused and half annoyed, we jotted down a quick list over dinner of all the tourist faux pas we’d witnessed while on vacation. Not just on this trip, but also from recent trips to Indonesia and India. Because we were there with time to kill, we made this entry about how not to be a terrible tourist.

The next morning we were ready to go. We’d booked the boat and all details of getting to the boat with our host, which made a few minor complicated matters of ferries and taxis very easy. I really liked the guesthouse except for the pillow, which had been too big and had messed my back up over the course of the night. The way I go on about hotels – it probably makes me sound like the princess and the pea, but I’ve got two four inch pins in my spine that pretty much keep me together. 99.9% of the time I am fine, but I have to be cautious about the kind of bed I sleep on and these kinds of things. Otherwise I face chronic, throbbing back pain for days on end, and if you’ve ever experienced that, you know it’s something to be avoided. Especially on vacation.

Unfortunately I woke up with that back pain, but otherwise I really liked that place. The view in the morning of the river was so beautiful and peaceful, I had risen before anyone else so I could get a photo of it at first light.


Soon enough everyone was up, and we had seated ourselves for breakfast when a plume of cigarette smoke wafted across my face. Ugh, not what I want to smell first thing in the morning before breakfast. We moved across the deck, and little did I know that this was to be the first of many incidences with the young woman who was enjoying her pre-breakfast cigarette.

Soon her gaggle of friends showed up, and they were all a chatter about this and that. So they were going to be on the boat with us. Ah well, it was a fairly big boat. I’m sure what they did in their seating area would have no effect on us wherever we had decided to sit.

Piling into our hosts pickup truck, Maria and I took shotgun while the clan piled into the back. They were on a mission to get some food and beer in town for the ride, which our host quite willingly obliged. Maria and I had bought packed lunches from her in the morning, so we were set to go. As we sat in the truck, we watched them flail about town like a bunch of chickens scared out of coop as they hunted down snacks, a Styrofoam beer cooler, ice, and of course, beer.

I still thought little of it.

After a short ferry ride across the river into Huay Xai, Laos and a crowded, chaotic hustle through immigration, we came away with our Laos Visas and some Kip (Laotian currency.) Based on a sticker our host had put on our shirts, a tour operator picked us out and told us to wait for our ride to the slow boat. As we waited, we noticed that our chatty, smoky travel companions all proudly sported Canadian flags at the top of their backpacks. I hadn’t realized people still did that sort of thing.

Soon we were off in another truck, and shortly came to the docking area for a slew of slow boats that traverse the Mekong River. We had been given seating assignments and realized our host had given us seating halfway down the boat from the Canadians. Bless her heart. But our seats had been occupied by a group of English guys and Canadian girls decked out in hipster summer gear, blasting over-played British pop songs from the 90’s through some ratty little ipod speakers. The boat operator asked them to move to their proper seats, but they put on their whingy faces and said “aww does it really matter?”

“It’s fine,” I said. “We’ll just sit back here [away from them.]”



The Mekong River. Snaking down between Myanmar and Laos, then bordering Laos and Thailand, dipping down through Cambodia and finally ending in Vietnam. A river of much life and history. Here we were on a slow boat cruising down the river for two days, into the heart of Laos and what I was pretending would be some kind of Shangri-La. Surely anyone who would want to sit on a slow boat for two days was thinking the same thing as me; a nice relaxing and scenic view on an idyllic riverboat ride… enjoying the sights and sounds of the countryside and villages.

But why would you want that when you can pound beers and hard liquor all day and blast shitty pop music through tinny, treble speakers that you bought at some night market? Why would anyone on the boat want to relax when there was hard partying to be done?

The boat departed at about 12:30, and by 1:00 the party contingent had begun to merge. A pocket in the back, a pocket in the middle, and the rest of front. They had the boat covered. They only made up for a third of the people on the boat, but that didn’t matter.

Perhaps you’re thinking “aw come on. You’re on a boat, on vacation, you might as well have a good time.” Sure, there’s nothing wrong with that. I love having a beer and hanging out with friends. Sometimes I even like to meet new people. But I also consider when I have fun that I shouldn’t do it at the expense of others. It’s like the right to smoke. Yes, you have the right to put that into your body if you choose. But you don’t have the right to make me breath it in too. You have the right to jump off a cliff if you want. You don’t have the right to take me with you. Your rights don’t trump mine or anyone else’s.

I wouldn’t care if they were sitting there having some drinks and talking to each other, but it wasn’t the case. The partiers converged and turned the boat into Spring Break ’12, despite two thirds of the boat doing whatever they could to ignore them at best, or glaring with overt resentment at worst. They were shouting, playing music, splashing river water up over the side of the boat at anyone sitting behind them, spilling beer all over the boat floor, leaving bottles strewn about the floor, and generally treating the whole boat as it was the wing of their dormitory. When asked several times not to sit on the edge of the boat for matters of safety, everyone looked at the boat operators and shrugged. It’s okay, if one of you falls in we’ll all come back for you. One guy who was about 60 and loosely resembled Donald Sutherland had spent the day trying his hardest to mingle and be accepted by the 20-somethings. I remembered him from immigration, pushing and fussing his way up through the line. Another woman, “old enough to be your mother,” wanted to show that she was a still a gal who could have a good time, and often led the party charge with screams of “WOOOOO HOOOOO PARTY ON!” Wow, you go, mom.

Classy party mom holds a beer between her toes while she romances a cigarette.

At one point I went to the back to use the toilet and saw a few of the revelers passed out cold, dead drunk, their bodies strewn throughout the boat operator’s family quarters amid the matriarchs and children. Classy move, guys. Party on.

I’ll make a departure from my complaint to highlight the better side of the boat ride.

She wants no part of a haggle.

Village kids from the hills try to sell scarves to boat tourists.



The OTHER slowboat.

Pakbeng

The boat stops for the night in Pakbeng, an interesting little town that serves as a major trade route for shipping goods inland. A few touts lined the bank, as I had hoped, and we took the first room that seemed reasonable. Actually, we just took the first room available.

After dinner and a very short walk around the corner to the end of the town, we headed to bed and prepared for an early rise. With a sore back after such a long day, and knowing tomorrow would be another long day as well, I was so ready for a nice deep sleep.

3:15 am
Rooster call right outside of our room. I checked my watch. Mother@#_&!. Usually they don’t start until at least 4 or 5. Not to worry. I’ll try to get back to sleep.

4:15 am
Two roosters calls, again outside of the room.

5:15
Welcome to rooster town, population you and 10 roosters from near to far.
Well, that chicken you eat has to come from somewhere. It comes from right next door.

When I finally got up for breakfast and saw a big, ugly rooster strutting up the road, I had half a mind to grab it by the neck and strangle it to death. Small river towns are going to have chickens and roosters, it completely makes sense, but it didn’t make me want to spare that rooster any less. And so this trip has taught me that I am not a vegetarian because I have to help save the world from these obnoxious fuckers by eating them.

The next plan was simple; get on the boat as early as possible because there was NO WAY that any of yesterday’s partiers were going to haul their hungover asses out of bed in time for the first boat. That’s right, I forgot to mention that there were two slowboats. The other had been passed and then passed us yesterday when we had broken down. Both times we saw the boat, we saw how sedate and relaxed everyone on the other boat had been, just enjoying the ride and watching the scenery. At breakfast we had talked to a group of young Brits who laughed when they heard we had been on that ‘other’ boat.

“Was that the boat with the Canadians?”
“Yes. You heard about the Canadians?”
“Ahahaha yes, we heard all about the Canadians.”

My nationalistic pride flared red like a giant flag sewn onto a backpack.

“I want to be on your boat.”
“No problem mate, it’s not assigned seating, it’s just first come first serve.”

Oh how I longed to be on that other boat. Today I would make that happen.



We got ourselves down to the river bank and were the first people on the first boat. No messing around. We could see everyone else winding their way down the hill towards the boat, and would have had first glimpse and alert of any one of yesterday’s Spring Breakers.

The boat was filling up fast with old people. It was looking really good.

“HEY JO DO YOU HAVE THE ROOM KEYS?”

“NO I NEVER HAD ONE.”

Here came the Canadians. They crept modestly onto the boat and sat at the front again. We were sitting only a few rows back from the front to avoid the noise of the engine room and the stink of the toilet. Surely if they were going to be on our boat again, today they would be hungover and mostly silent. Victory would be mine. Oh yes.

The boat filled up more. We were totally winning.

Here came ‘the Austalian.’ Okay, he was only one more. No problem.

Next came the second group of Canadians that had been with the British guys the day before. They weren’t together anymore. Uh oh, maybe some drama there from last night.

“One of those girls totally slept with one of the guys and now it’s just awkward” Maria said.

But they too, were clearly hungover and would not get out of hand.

We were still kind of winning. And the boat was mostly full. I could feel the glee approaching as I noticed people starting to load the other boat.

Party mom and her companion wound down the hill and onto our boat. Surely party mom was partied out.

Finally the British guys who had been with the Canadians yesterday wound their way down the hill. They looked the most hungover of all (they had drank two bottles of hard liquor on the boat the day before,) and went onto the other boat. Then they came onto our boat, avoided the girls, and went straight to the back.

We had totally lost. ALL of the idiots from yesterday’s boat were on our boat again. Even creepy old Donald Sutherland guy had slunk aboard somehow. I stayed optimistic. It was 9am. They were all hungover. The full coolers that everyone had brought the day before were emptied and gone. Today was going to be a good day.

10:00 am
The Canadians had gone to the back and bought their first round of beers from the boat staff. Ten AM! By noon everyone was well on their way to Spring Break Part 2, Party Mom included. By one o’clock, all of the scattered partiers had reassembled in power formation, all at the front of the boat, all 2 meters in front of us. We hadn’t just lost, we were set adrift on a river of loss, en route to Loserville.

Two of the Canadian Superstars were girls named Annie and Willow. Annie was a ‘CSR’ (A customer service rep – a waitress) from Vancouver, and Willow was a freshly-single late starter who was tied down in a relationship since she was 19 and now she was 29, also from Vancouver. (“My ex is totally hot, I would totally do him anytime anywhere except it would mess with his head.”) She’d been tied down for her entire twenties, and now had a lot of catching up to do. How do I know so many things (and more) about them? Because they were telegraphing all of their personal information over the boat for two days and I had nowhere else to run.

You know what else Willow was telegraphing all over the boat that day? Her disgusting pimply ass. Maria, considerate as she is, even told her “your dress! Your butt is hanging out of your [too short] dress!” To which her friend Annie shrugged and says “that’s what she does.”

That’s what she does. Hey your pimply ass and unwashed, brown bathing suit are on display for the whole disgusted boat to see. But that’s just what she does.

What more can I say about it that I haven’t yet explained in unnecessary detail? Nothing. I suspect that the two friends who so heavily recommended this boat ride to me had taken it in the off-season when there are less tourists. I really had enjoyed the ride for the few minutes that I could depart myself from Spring Break Boat Party ’12, but I could not recommend it to anyone who might end up in the same predicament. If you ever do take the slow boat to Luang Prabang, try to avoid these types of tourists if at all possible. Your trip will be much more relaxing and enjoyable.





We arrived in Luang Prabang that evening just before sunset, and I was so thoroughly delighted to be there. It could be nothing short of my own personal Shangri-La after getting off that boat and away from everyone. I was soon to find out that two long days of nonsense were about to pay off beautifully.

Next: Thailand / Laos Part VI – Luang Prabang

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Life Abroad

 

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