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Published: July 24th 2012
Broken Down Bus
Don Det to Pakse
1Oth Oct: Up, packed and had brekky. Got on th boat at 11 to head to Nagasan. Once there we waited a little while for our minibus. Minibus turned up and we piled in. However we didn't go straight away, as we were having engine trouble. So the driver and his pal were pouring a load of water onto the engine and creating a load of steam. We set off, but didn't get very far as the engine conked out not far down the main road. So we all got out and stood in the baking heat. After about 20 minutes, another minibus came along, it had six spare seats, so we grabbed our stuff and claimed two of the seats.
Got to Pakse at around lunchtime. Stopped at a Vietnamese place for lunch. Not the greatest. Got a cyclo style tuk-tuk to take us round some guesthouses. Obviously not made for us fat westerners and it was a bit of a squeeze and uncomfortable. Most of the guesthouses were pretty rotten. However we found a nice one, although it was quite expensive, a tenner a night.
We went for a wander around Pakse, not a great deal going
on. It's a pretty quiet small town. We ended up stopping at a make-shift bar on the riverbank, having a few beers. We returned their later for dinner, as they did barbecue. After dinner we went to a big massive bar and restaurant to play cards and drink a few beers. Thankfully we had moved from the outdoor place as the heavens had opened and it was lashing down. There was a lot of thunder and lightening, too. Luckily we didn't get too wet as this place had a tarp ceiling. One really funny this about this place was the bathroom. One the door the management had written "Do Not Feces" in English and Lao, quite a few times. As I was waiting I was thinking what the heck, but when it was my turn to go it became clear, why you couldn't take a poo there. The toilet was literally a small hole in the ground, kind of like a drain, covered with a metal grille and a cement block either side of the hole to stand on. It's got to be one of the most primitive toilets I have ever used and I wish I had taken some
photos of it. After there we went to a posh hotel near where we were staying for one last beer. Good job we decided to share a bottle of Beer Lao, as it was three times the price of a normal bar!
11th Oct: Up fairly early. Packed and went for some breakfast at a cafe across the road. Got talking to a tuk-tuk driver and decided to use him to get to the Bolaven Plateau. Transport costs seam really expensive in Laos. To do a trip to the Bolaven Plateau, and see all the waterfalls and other sights they wanted over $100 for the day, no way! Looking back in hindsight the best thing to do would have been to hire scooters and head there ourselves but seeing as I can't drive, that option was impossible. So we agreed to get the tuk-tuk driver to take us to Paksong village with a stop at Tad Fane waterfall on the way. The tuk-tku journey to Tad Fane was nice as we drove through the countryside. We reached the entrance to the waterfall and started to walk down the track. At that point the heavens opened so we legged it
to the nearest cafe for a coffee and a couple of games of cards. After a while, the rain eased up a bit so we headed down to the waterfall. When we got to the waterfall, we couldn't see a thing because it was really misty. Great! The saving grace of the trip had to be lunch at the Tad Fane resort, steak and chips in a treehouse style bar.
After an age we headed back to our tuk-tuk, hoping and praying he was still there as we had been gone a good few hours. Got our tuk-tuk driver to drop us in Paksong, a pretty unremarkable village. The guesthouse was brand new, nice and cheap. We went for a wander and found a nice man made waterfall, took a few pics of that, and then headed to a nearby restaurant for a couple of drinks and more cards. We were the only people there apart from when some local big-wigs came in to have a business meeting, but they left again pretty quick. We then had a wander over to the other side of town, saw the market and found where to get the bus tomorrow, as we
had already planned our escape.
We spent the evening in the bar / restaurant / karaoke room / shop across the way from our guesthouse. We ordered BBQ pork, which wasn't great, all fat and intestines. Funny point was when we asked for an ashtray and the woman just pointed at the floor. Bit rank! Things were hotting up in the karaoke part of the place and we couldn't hear a thing because of the singing so we went to the bar next door, which was a lot more sedate, as we were the only customers.
12th Oct: Up at 7:20 and we were on our merry way by eight. Got in a pick-up back to Paske, we were going to get out and then head to Tad Lo, another waterfall area, but the Bolevan Plateau had been a bit of a disappointment, so we just decided to cut our losses. Back in Pakse we had a couple of coffees at the bus station, before going our separate ways. Ian was off to Kong Lo cave and I was heading back into town for a night beofre heading to Vientiene. I went back to the Sala Champa, where
Cute Little Huts
These would have been great to stay in, but they were just shells. Paksong
we had previously stayed as I was feeling a bit delicate and wanted a little bit of luxury to feel sorry for myself in. Had an early lunch and a nap. In the evening I had a wander, stopped off for some fried rice at a random restaurant. Spent the evening watching a crappy film, a dingo ate my baby, to which I was hooked before getting some sleep.
13th Oct: Today was one of those time wasting days where you have nothing to do and are waiting to leave. Got up around 9, went for brekky over the road and then headed back to pack up. Watched the Peruvian miners getting rescued, that was really interesting. Checked out and went for a drink at this really nice cafe I had seen last time we were in Pakse. Iced lime tea, delicious! Did some more wandering before stopping for lunch. Fresh spring rolls, honestly I think I am addicted to them.
I saw another cute little cafe so I went in there to kill some more time, reading my book, drinking coffee and eating cake. A backpacker has a really hard life. Then it was massage time! I
opted for a foot, neck and shoulder massage. It was really nice as she washed my feet before massaging them with a nice cream. It was one of the best massages I have had, as she was quite firm and was bashing my toes. I only wish the neck and shoulders part had been a bit longer as they were quite sore form carrying my backpack.
I went for dinner at the Iced lime tea cafe, only had a baguette as I wasn't very hungry. I went back to the hostel and got my stuff and was taken to the bus station, ready for my first overnight bus journey of my trip. Waited in the bus station for about an hour before we were called to board our bus. The bus was pretty cool. It was a double mattress on the bottom and on the top on each side. We got given a snack and two drinks, included in the price, not bad! The beds were pretty small, but luckily I was sharing with a tiny Lao lady and not a big western guy. Watched a bit of the movie there were showing, but it wasn't my cup of tea so fell asleep.
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