Posts filed under 'Nong Khiaw'
Yesterday a group of us (Inge from Holland, Laurent from France, Ester and Raoul from Holland, Winston, and me) decided to go up to Muang Ngoi for the day. It’s one hour north upriver by boat, only accesible by boat. We got dropped off at Muang Ngoi and then trekked through the rice fields and forest to a cave/stream. Beautiful walk – mountains and rice fields everywhere. The stream itself was actually flowing out of the cave. We took turns venturing upstream into the darkness of the cave – in our group was Winston, Inge and me. We went back into the darkness for about 10 minutes, then decided to turn around because we only had one torch (with old batteries) between the three of us.
It was another hour by boat back to Nong Khiaw. We stopped at another village on the way back, but only for a few minutes, then we continued home.
The evening was spent sitting round the table over Beer Laos, vegetable curry soup, spring rolls, and chips (French fries). Good time.
Today was a chill day. We hung out at the guesthouse reading, eating, chatting, and enjoying the view. Had another night visit to the bridge. With one day before the full moon the night sky was so bright, beautiful beyond words. Winston is leaving tomorrrow; he’s heading south to Luang Prabang. Me, I’m heading north, to Luang Nam Tha.
TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: Hi everyone! Sorry this entry is boring, nothing I can do about it after the fact. Good news is that I’ve added all the pictures from Lao, so there are new photos now from 9.19.02 to the present entry. To view, click on the journal link above and then scroll back. I hope you like the new additions to the site, most notably the clickable slide show on the main index page. Also added is a date of last update which you can see in the top right corner on the main page (it reads UPDATED: 11.05.02), so now you can immediately tell if the journal has been updated without having to read any further. I’ve got plenty more ideas for the site so you may be seeing more updates in the future. Thanks for reading along, hope you are enjoying the site.
Most old B-52 bomb shells are used as flower pots in Lao nowadays
The sights of Muang Ngoi
October 20th, 2002
11pm, in bed, under the protective mosquito netting, listening to the sounds of crickets and geckos. The electricity in these parts only runs from about 6pm – 9pm every day; after that it’s candles and torches (I’m writing by torchlight at the moment).
Woke up early today, spent the morning sitting on the veranda overlooking the river. After lunchtime I finally decided to move and take a walk to a cave 3 km up the road. Wound up going with some others from the guesthouse – Laurent (France), Inge (Holland), and Raoul and Ester (Holland). Good company. The walk was hot in the afternoon sun. The cave itself was an interesting place – it was formerly used as a operations center during the Indochine War. The only evidence that remains now are some bamboo sticks that used to be parts of furniture.
The evening was spent hanging out at the guesthouse with a combo of guesthouse folks and other backpackers in town. I think we had a crowd of about 20 which basically consisted of all of the foreigners in town. I took a late evening walk out to the bridge with an English girl named Mary to check out the river, valley, mountains and moonlight from the bridge. Can’t explain the magic of the village at night with no electricity and nearly a full moon. The locals actually apologise to us for not having electricity, but I’m sure that once it comes to this village the place will never be the same. The people here have no idea how lucky they are to live in such a beautiful place.
Not a bad view for an operations center (looking out from the cave)
The river, the mountains…this is Northern Lao
Sunset at Nong Khiaw
October 18th, 2002
More north of Luang Prabang, a bit more off the beaten path, a 4-hour ride by pick-up to get here. Staying at a place right on the river for a whopping $1/night (thanks again Brent, another good tip).
Yesterday was a long day in Luang Prabang. The night before I went out with Winston and the American couple, Peggy and Ron, to the restaurant across the street to celebrate my one year of travelling. We had a great time eating spring rolls and green curry and drinking quite a few beers as well. Winston surprised me with a special chocolate cake from the Scandinavian Bakery for dessert. We gave 2 pieces to the couple sitting next to us and ate the rest between us four, and there was not a single morcel left. We sat around for a bit after dinner, exchanged emails since Peggy and Ron were planning to leave the following day, and everyone was in bed by 11pm.
The next day (yesterday), Winston and I woke to hear terrible news from Peggy and Ron. They had been robbed while sleeping in the middle of the night – 2 cameras, Peggy’s passport, their plane tickets, and over $700 cash GONE. We were in shock. THEY were in shock. All we really knew is that they woke up around 3am to find the door wide open, and thinking they just didn’t close it properly, got up, closed the door, and went back to sleep.
They didn’t realize things were missing until the next morning when they started packing. There are 4 rooms in the building where we’re all staying – our room is on one end; their room is at the other. Our room wasn’t touched. And, the place where we ate dinner the night before was directly across the street from where we stayed; we could see our porches from our table at the restauant. So we’re sure no one had been in there earlier in the evening. What we do think is that the day before, while Peg and Ron were walking around town for the day, someone spotted them with their expensive cameras and followed them and waited. That’s the only explanation why they went for their room and not our’s or anyone else’s. What a shame.
Peggy and Ron spent most of the day at the police station and other government offices trying to file all the paperwork for a police report and new passport. We felt so bad, but there was nothing we could do. All I managed was to buy a bunch of brownies for them at the bakery.
We spent the afternoon at the guesthouse with Peg and Ron, waiting for the police to show up and inspect the room. Once the first wave of shock wore off we were able to laugh about it, a little anyway. We tried to forget about the troubles of the day by going out to dinner together, to a traditional Lao dancing show and buffet. Peggy and I stayed up late at the guesthouse talking and drinking more beer Laos. At the end of the day we agreed that the material possesions don’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things anyway; what’s important is that no one got hurt. We’re all thankful for that.
First class transport in Lao – the back of a pick-up
The village of Nong Khiaw
View of the river from the bridge
October 17th, 2002