Muang Khua (Laos)July 15, 2019 in Laos ⋅ ☁️ 28 °C
Well today certainly was interesting. Flew from Hanoi to the far northwest reaches of vietnam to Dien Bien Phu. Next bus wasn't until the morning but I wanted to be on a boat in Laos down the river Nam Ou tomorrow morning so splurged on a taxi to the Laos border for $25. Now the fun begins..
My taxi can't cross the border because he didn't have required permits for it. But this is a really remote crossing point and there's no transportation on other side. Plus the lady who does the Laos visas left work for the day as she was apparently drunk. Or perhaps i got a poor translation.. dunno. Either way i have two problems to solve. There was a small place renting rooms on viet side so i know i wont be sleeping on the side of road at least.
The vietnamese exit guards managed to contact someone in laos who would drive me all the way to muang khua for 100 dollars. Total rip off and would eat most of my american money. But i brought it for getting out of a bind and this qualified. Waited 90 mins for that guy to finally show up. Then he somehow knew where the drunk laos visa lady was and went to get her. In the meantime, my viet taxi guy stuck around the entire 90 mins for some reason. I told him he could go because i had accomodations right there if i needed them but he stuck around anyways. Bored? Entertained? I dunno. He was really nice though as he stopped a number of times during drive to show me some pretty spots for pictures. Ah vietnam, i will miss you.
When visa lady showed up, boy was she in a foul mood. Berated me for showing up so late at the border (5:30pm lol). My visa cost me another 40 US and she charged me another 10 for making her work overtime. And she was ridiculously picky about which bills she would accept. They had to be in pristine shape. She rejected almost all the ones i handed her but fortunately there were a few to her liking and my visa got processed. She didnt seem to know how to talk to me without yelling. See you later, dragon lady.
All the people at the border kept asking why was i crossing there lol. It was really perplexing to them why i didnt fly in somewhere and went to the trouble of this remote land crossing. The answer to me was obvious. It was absolutely gorgeous. High up in the mountains and deep in the jungle, the scenery was breathtaking. Back in vietnam, in dien bien phu, it was flat but you could see the wall of mountains towards laos in the distance... much like calgary towards the rockies.
Fortunately i had just enough viet dong to pay my driver and salvaged my US dollars, and very thankfully. I made an error and showed up in Laos without any of their currency (Kip) and all the ATMs were out of order or locked up for the night. I arrived in muang khua in the dark after 8pm and found two guesthouses. One had A/C, no wifi and would not accept dollars. The other no A/C, wifi yes, and 10 dollars was good for them as payment. Easy choice.
Found a place for food, and some beer that won't win any creative naming awards (beerlao), and i was thoroughly enjoying things falling into place and laughing about today's challenges. The restaurant lady was really nice and her cute daughter and i played as the restaurant lady shut things down. Early night for me.Read more