Here we are – the fourth and final part of our two day boat trip adventure!!
This is actually the second version. After spending almost two hours writing the first version next to a campfire in Texas, I walked all the way to the camp office to hook up to their wireless connection….only to discover my post had disappeared into cyber space!!!
You can imagine I was pretty thrilled!
Rather than re-write the whole thing, I’m taking it as a sign from the heavens and have chosen a shorter, dot-point version. I’m sure your poor tired eyes will thank me if you have 200 other posts to get to in your RSS feed!!
So here we go….
You can read the previous three posts by clicking on these links:
Here’s how our final day went:
- We were up and packed by 8am. One of our travel companions was highly amused to see us getting breakfast and supplies so early. From memory she was also the last onto the boat!
- There were many more people to fit onto these two boats than the day before – no backup boats were on hand this time so we raced aboard to get a seat!
- Britt was insisting on travelling on the other boat – we were a bit nervous but gave her some money for a drink and snacks. We were stuck with her bag – Gert relished the thought of getting hers and his off the boat at the other end!! NOT!!
- Lisa ate at the same restaurant as us the night before and today she was SICK! She arrived on the boat, having just emptied her stomach in the street in Pak Beng!! She ended up being unconscious for 95% of the boat journey. She woke to visit the toilet and to puke over the side of the boat!
- We left before Brittney – I was happy that we would arrive first at the other end. Little did I know…..
- About an hour in we stopped on a beach to pick up a woman and small child. When the driver restarted our engine there was a loud bang, followed by grinding sounds and plumes of smoke…followed by dead silence….!
- Britt’s boat sailed past us as we were trying to get repaired. I started to worry how long she would be stuck without us as the boat was too far away to get anyone’s attention!
- After an hour or so of banging and loud voices our driver removed a big steel rod and took it to the beach to beat the crap out of it some more. Some of our passengers, including Gert and Jono got off the boat and started skipping stones into the river. It would have been quite relaxing except for the worry about Brittney who was now an hour ahead of us.
- I was sure we would spend the night on the floor of a dusty village hut with no electricity whilst Brittney was sold into slavery in Luang Prabang!
- Finally, after an hour and 40 minutes the motor sputtered back to life!! We cheered and were on our way. The woman and small child had long since abandoned us and returned to their village up the hill!!
- We had more stops to make. One of those was for over 30 minutes! More time Brittney would be alone at the finish line!
- The photo at the top of this post is how Kate and Jono spent most of the trip on the second day!!
- Whilst on this trip we learned that people had possessions stolen from the same hotel that we stayed in. One lady lost her iPad, iPhone and iPod. She was pretty certain it was the kids from the night before who had helped to carry her bag – not cool!
- Cameras, credit cards and other valuables were also lost by other travellers while in Pak Beng – if you go there, keep track of your stuff!!
- We finally pulled into Luang Prabang, Laos just as it was getting dark. I could see Brittney on the jetty and I was so relieved (I use the term jetty loosely – it’s a steep cliff, covered in sand with no path!)
- It turned out that Britt’s boat had stopped to pick up the entire year’s rice supply for Luang Prabang!! The boat had been FILLED with bags of rice and the passengers had had to sit on the bags as there was no room. She spent the trip thinking they were going to sink and drown!! It’s hilarious to me that she had her own adventure!
- After all that worry she was only at the jetty for about 20 minutes! She didn’t even know that we were behind her – she was waiting for us to collect her from town!! lol
- After surveying the cliff and the plank of wood that was bowing as each person walked over it with their luggage I abandoned my bag and dragged myself up the hill. Feet and hands were involved – it was not a glamorous look!!
- I figured either Gert or a nice Laotian man would retrieve my bag. If not I was prepared to wear the clothes I was in for the next year rather than try to get my pack over the plank and up the hill!!
- A middle aged woman was carrying on about how she needed help. That would have been me a few months prior!!
- When we finally made it to the street and got a tuk tuk there was something wierd going on. We were made to pay a random man who told us he was the driver. Then someone else got in and drove off with us!!
- Backpackers were all over the place telling us that $6 per night was outside their budget!! I still wonder where they ended up sleeping!!
So there you go – the abridged version of my previous two hour post!!!
If you ever have the chance to take the two day slow boat, jump at it. It’s a relaxing jaunt up the river (besides the sickness, theft, explosions etc!) and is well worth a try!!
We are now in America and will start to mix up our SE Asia stories with our American adventures. So far in just two weeks we’ve almost been in the middle of a mace fight on the train in LA, been screamed at by a crazy female truck driver in New Mexico, almost accidently-on-purpose crossed the border into mexico, had the highway patrol stop our RV outside the missile base in New Mexico, had a service station attendant pray for our safe journey and have bought a car!!
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