Day One of the Two day slow boat - destination: Luang Prabang, Laos

After taking a couple of busses to get from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and then to Laos border, I awoke the next day to try out something new ~ a 2 day slow boat down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang. I was excited for the scenery and potential glimpses into Laos village life. I'd read mixed reviews on the 2 day slow boat - everything from "YOU HAVE to experience this!!!" to "STAY AWAY!" - I picked adventure and went for it! 

Walking down to my boat, number 42 

The hostel made me a lunch to take on board as they had warned that it was very expensive to buy anything on the boat itself. I got to the boat piers, which wasn't really a pier at all, rather a steep hill down to a long line of slow boats parked against the land. My boat was #42. We had assigned seats - I scored 3rd row, "window" seat if there were such things. 

The seats were sneaky in that I sat down and the entire row (2 seats) scooted backwards about 6"- to my surprise- but I didn't wind up on my fanny, Thankfully. Turns out the seats were old automobile seats- two cloth seats connected and just set on the floor. Hence the movement. 
The gal I sat next to was pretty cool- she, her husband, and their 6 yo just moved to Bangkok to teach for 2 years. They had just boyght a house in canada and 4 mos later were leaving it all behind to teach abroad. Turns out that's a pretty lucrative gig. 2 year commitment, decent salary, living stipend, and rent paid. Plus it's tax free. Made me think of Plan B if needed! I don't want to live in Bangkok but there's probably other locations! She also said that there is a service where foreigners coming to Thailand can bring supplies from.the states that can't be found in Thailand, and deliver to folks there for a good price as well. Ie: they sell anti perspirant but not deodorant here. There's apparently a hot market for getting it across seas. That and toothpaste, sunscreen, and non-whitening lotions. Noted for the next trip!

 Random awareness on the boat - I look (once again) like I was beat in recent days. Thanks to my hypersensitivity to mosquitos and any other thing that touches my skin...

The slow boat chugged down the river occasionally passed only by the speed boats. That was also a speed boat option to get from point a to point b but after reading about it, it's highly ill advised due to horrible safety concerns. After seeing the first speed boat whiz by- I noted that the driver had a full face helmet on, while passengers had nothing. That can't be a good sign in itself. 

I enjoyed the scenery on the first day of the slow boat journey, which took 6 hours from take off to our stop in Pakbeng for one night. We were warned about Pakbeng -about the hoards of people who come up like a rabid pack of dogs to sell stuff, get you to stay at their hotel, and kids who run around trying to steal whatever they can without foreigners noticing.

 Prior to the stop I put everything inside my pack except for an empty coke can. And the rabid pack of children saw that immediately. When the boat docked, there were literally flocks of children that surrounded us (one by one) and were trying to see what we had in our packs. I had an empty Coke can in the outer pocket and all I heard was 'coke?' Over and over and over and then they tried stealing the can when I turned around. I gVe it to them and they realized it's empty and Frickin threw it back at me. Luckily I was warned about the little fuckin thieves from my hostel roomie last night and I put a carbiner on my zippers. They stole a women's lunch leftovers and ravaged it like Frickin Hawks. I was literally 'shooing' the kids away like rabid pigeons. So if that's the action of the KIDS- I'm going to assume parents taught them to be thieves and am carrying my day pack with all my important stuff with me when I go out. (I usually just lock my pack and leave in room). This town is the only stop for slow boats so it's huge tourist trap literally. I wandered around and it didn't take long to make new friends since everyone in the town was also on the boat today. Considering how 'above average tall' I am here, its hard to imagine locals using these very steps, in which one step comes all the way up to my knee..

A 'cheers!' gone a little too rough..

And me trying to open my own bottle (not twist off) on a cement block is an epic fail...

After a couple of drinks at the pub I headed to bed. 

 Thankful that there were mosquitoes nets (with big holes in them, but that's besides the point)
because the mosquitoes were brutal! Just like every bed in Asia, the bed was rock solid and more cement than mattress.

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