Slow Boat Down the Mekong


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Asia » Laos » West » Ban Houayxay
November 27th 2008
Published: December 12th 2008
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Here's some photos from our two day voyage down the Mekong River from the Thai/Lao border at Huay Xai to Luong Prabang! Our boat was a rollicking, overcrowded vessel full of good-natured partiers. There was a young Dane playing Johnny Cash favorites to drunken applause, people perched on rice bags, car seats, and cushions, and amazing scenes of untouched jungle. We made some friends on this boat that we have continued to run into throughout our travels since, an Australian and a bunch of Canadians. We purchased our first street food that we couldn't finish in PakBeng (purportedly fish in banana leaves but actually raw baby shrimp and fish tails and heads, bones and all!) and ate a lot of Lao baguette sandwiches (usually chicken or tuna, lettuce, tomater, cukes, onions, mayo, and chili sauce-Lao has more bread than we've seen since home- a peculiar colonial leftover).


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This is the line of people they were proposing to fit onto the boat after the last picture, once we'd already reached twice capacity.
About an hour into the trip, a smaller boat docked with oursAbout an hour into the trip, a smaller boat docked with ours
About an hour into the trip, a smaller boat docked with ours

and loaded about twenty empty gasoline containers into the front of our boat, displacing already cramped travelers to the sides of the boat.
Dawn in PakBengDawn in PakBeng
Dawn in PakBeng

This was our stopover port halfway through the trip. The town only had electricity until 10 PM, and we wandered through the dark streets, heads craned back, watching the brightest stars we had seen since home.
Entrance to the Pak Ou caves, about an hour north of Luong PrabangEntrance to the Pak Ou caves, about an hour north of Luong Prabang
Entrance to the Pak Ou caves, about an hour north of Luong Prabang

Caves boast hundreds of wooden renderings of Buddha assembled by locals and pilgrims over the years.


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