Slowboat to the Laos/Thai BorderMarch 9, 2017 in Laos
This morning I woke up early with a few other girls and we went and went to see Tak Bat, the early morning alms procession where monks in training receive offerings from the local people. The event is a daily occurrence and started at sunrise. All the monks from the various Temples walk the streets in a line to receive donations of food from the local people. They live solely off of these donations so are reliant on other people completely. We, as non Buddhists, only observed and tried to be respectful about it. We watched from the sidelines and didn't take photos, trying to be respectful of their culture. Other tourists, not so much. The boldness of some people just surprises me! The monks are people, not objects to be gawker at. One woman just went up in their faces and took photos.. The monks took it in stride of course, but I see why the city is having problems with tourists and this event that is supposed to be meaningful. Anyway, the monks also blessed a few of the groups of people who were giving them alms and it was quite a neat experience to observe. Worth the early start to the day.
Afterwards we went back to the guest house and I took a nap before waking up to take a transfer to the Laos / Thailand border crossing. We took a slowboat down the Mekong River that took about 8 or 9 hours! What a way to travel though. We had a boat to ourselves with tons of space. There were even beds which was great because I desperately needed sleep. I wasn't feeling all that great today... Sore throat, nauseous, just exhausted. I think that I slept for at least 4 or 5 hours of the entire ride. When I was awake I watched the stunning scenery of the river go by through the open air windows of the boat. The riverbanks are so lush and green with some rocky areas and Sandy beaches thrown in there. There isn't much development along the river banks yet which is great. We saw some local communities on our journey, there were children playing in the mud along the river, workers riding their Elephants, and men fishing from small kayaks. The boat topped out at about 25 km/hr so the ride was mostly smooth. There were some rough patches but we had a great driver. The boat is owned by a husband and wife, he drove, and she made us a delicious lunch. There was an "honour system" in place on the boat which was pretty cool. You helped yourself to drinks and snack snap just told them what you had and paid at your leisure. Actually I've noticed that in a lot of places here! It's a nice change from the hounding you receive at home.
When we arrived at our destination we hopped into a van to take us to the guest house which is right by the border. I don't recall the name as there's no WiFi to look it up and the owners don't speak any english. There wasn't much in the area at all really, a small shop owned by the guesthouse family and that was it. When we arrived we were given dinner and shown our rooms. Which might be the least nice place we've stayed at yet... That or we were just so tired that it seemed that way! The beds were hard, they gave us one towel for two people, no toilet paper, no trash bin, a twin blanket for a queen bed, ants everywhere. But, we did solve most of those issues :) After dinner we just took it easy, played some cards as a group, and found a local puppy to have cuddles with! Funny the things you can be entertained with when no one has wifi. Making bets on which gecko would get the dragonfly, etc. It was a quiet night and an early night!Read more