As you can imagine we were up for the first boat leaving at 9.30am, happy in the knowledge we’d catch a bus that connected with the boat in the morning – information gratefully received from the aussie couple involved in discussions the night before.
As we arrived around 10.30am we had a pretty mad dash to cross the bridge, rescue our luggage, settle our bill and dart back to grab a bus. As always seems to happen, when we were heading up the street from the boat a sawngthaew driver looked out at us and shouted ‘Udomxai’?. This was Angelica’s destination.
‘Can you wait until I get my luggage?’
Deal was done, other travellers promising to wait for Angelica, and the Aussies doing the same for me on the way back to Nong Khiaw.
When I got back I was shouted over to my pickup which was jam packed and fully loaded, and Angelica’s was ready to go. I’ve never found out if she made it to Udomxai as her driver seemed to criss cross our path several times getting out of the two street town! I settled into my four hours of hanging off the back, as always the best way to see the place, and get a tan at the same time. This journey was a bit sketchy at first as you could see the tilt of the pickup as it rounded corners – you’re sheilded from that inside. The Aussies sounded concerned for me every time we stopped but I was happy as Larry (who is Larry in that saying anyway) having a whale of a time. Gladly the driver seemed to calm down after a few small screeches going through a town, and I had an interesting chat about teaching in Korea with a Canadian.
After trying a few places I ended up back at my Pathoumphone, the same accommodation as my previous visit to Luang Prabang, and felt like I was coming home!
I knew Jane, one of the Project Managers from Raleigh may have been in town around now so I dashed to an internet cafe to send a quick email incase she picked it up that day. An hour later I had a reply, and we were sorted to meet at my ‘just in case you are in town’ destination at 7pm. I bumped into her on the way into town, sorted her out at the same accommodation as me, and we headed out so I could show her this place I raved about, the night markets, the Lao Lao bar, and of course, another trip to the Vietnam Bar after hours.
This time the Vietnam Bar wasn’t as welcoming as they had just had a police visit. After a little pleasant negotiation I was allowed to carry on my celebrations with the 6 people effectively having an illegal lock-in. All of a sudden I seemed to get a bottle of Thai Whisky which was finished rather rapidly as my new found Dutch friends appeared to help themselves safe in the promise they’d buy the next one, and we had good chats with a few Irish lads. My first disagreement happened with the Dutch prick when he backtracked on his witnessed statment…so I bought another bottle!
A late night was had by all, but luckily this time a tuk tuk took us straigh back to the accommodation, bypassing the need to find a friendly local to give me a lift around town on his motorbike like the last Vietnam Bar outing……