Monday 9th Aug, 2010 – CHIANG RAI, HUAY XAI, Mekong River to PAKBENG

On the drive out, a lot of the houses in the Chiang Rai area reminded me of home and made me wonder why we ever stopped building this style.  The wide eaves and raised floors really do make sense in this climate.

The border crossing from Thailand to Laos left me happy to be Australian.  I only had to pay US$30 for my Lao visa compared to the $35 the Irish and American paid, and the $42 the Canadians paid.

After a tight squeeze into a small truck, our Laotian guide Soun transferred us to our slow boat, our ‘home’ for the next two days.  It’s wonderful just sitting back, letting the cooling breeze blow gently over my face while looking out at the green hills that slide slowly by.  I can feel the stress of work and everyday life slipping away with every passing minute.

Our ‘ships’ crew is a couple and their 3 sons, joining their parents river journeys for the school holidays.  While the father captains the boat and the mother prepares lunch, the boys keep themselves occupied making miniature models of traditional pan-flutes…using spaghetti!  Such is the ingenuity of children without Nintendos.  Listening to the boys quietly sing as they play, I drift into a comfortable doze.



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