DAY 42 It was around 11am as I woke to a silent guest house, no signs of humans anywhere. I took a little stroll to the entry gate… to my surprise I noticed an enormous corrugated tin hanger on the other side of a large reed bed, queues of Trucks amidst the muffled sound of […]
It was around 11am as I woke to a silent guest house, no signs of humans anywhere. I took a little stroll to the entry gate... to my surprise I noticed an enormous corrugated tin hanger on the other side of a large reed bed, queues of Trucks amidst the muffled sound of juggernauts ticking over trail from the hanger. It is the Thai border which is the only route to the Laos border this far north. The difference in gauge night and day can offer!
I catch the highlights of last nights game as i am paying an unexpected fine for exceeding my stay in Thailand by one day. I take the short bus ride to the Laos border to be greeted by a mild hurdle of bureaucracy. A Loas Visa 1500 baht/30 quid... I only have 900 baht on me. I quickly come to grips after comparing prices in the currency exchange booths. In Laos for five minutes at least I am a millionaire. 1 million kip is roughly 83quid.( these keyboards don't have the pound symbol).
It was around 12:30 - my aim is to be in Luang Numtha 300km north by midnight... I tuk - tuk it through the Capital City of Vientiane and onto the outskirts of the City... the road decreases to a size no bigger than your average drive outside your typical english home. The Thumb is picked up within 30 mins off a Laos trucker. The flat landscape being the obvious reason Vientiane was staked here quickly changed to dense, mountinous jungle. The road is 3m at its widest and has received little maintenance recently or ever...the road north is the only road north so getting lost would be an achievement .
I make a purposeful point of not researching the possible countries I may pass through because I am not fond of encouraging expectation, I like to engineer the possibility of surprise and prefer learning about a place and its people from a personal, graoud level... Laos is revealing its charm in abundance, as 'trevor' 'my lift' constantly wrestles with his vehicle... 6 hours in and no stretch of road stayed straight for over 30 metres, we climb and climb as the road wraps itself round a mountain only to twirl down another mountain then spend another hour crawling up another, we never hit a speed over 15mph. ( looks like 'AA' is going to get his 1 baht.)
This dust road must be the main artery of Laos...shacks, little stalls and the odd opulent mansion pepper the roadsides.
6pm - Turns out Trevor after a 100 smiles and nods between us has reached home. He points forward with the 2 fingered walking sign. The sun was setting and I am in thick dense Jungle trotting along wondering what it is I am walking too. I sat down on my rucksack for 5 minutes when a mozzy with a blood sack the size of a small rugby ball attempted to land on my ankle... I then remembered I am in Tigerland.
I found a few huts and a large tin shack with around 10 tables and chairs with a Laos lady preparing a big vat of broth. I had a bowl as a 'Bone rattler of a bus like in the opening scene of ' Romancing the Stone' pulls in. The bus is bursting at the seams with folk, mopeds and a small cage with a 1000 Sparrows strapped at the front on the roof...how thoufghtful. The driver is only to happy to have me aboard, their are 10 folk sitting on plastic stools in the walkway between the seats... I get placed in the centre of the bus. I was phsiycally uncomfortable but happy with the thought I will be in Luang Numtha in the morning