Thursday, 25 April 2013

Slow Boat I - to Pakbeng

So I awoke, collected my sandwiches, beer and snacks from ‘I have everything’ shop, and waited for the pickup at 9.30am. Jo and Duncan, the English couple from the Gibbon Experience were getting the slow boat today too so I chatted to them for a bit, then met the American couple and New Zealand guy, Vincent, who were on our pickup and headed to the pier. 

We got our tickets and boarded the boat early to get our seats, it didn’t leave til 12pm so we just sat chatting, getting to know each other and chilling. The boat is a little long wooden thing with airline style seating. I was sat next to Vincent and after the boat got going he asked if I wanted to share a room with him in Pakbeng as it would make it cheaper, which made sense so I agreed and we booked with the guy selling rooms on the boat for Bounmee. So we all cracked open some beers after the first hour and chatted pretty much the entire journey on and off – which was 7 hours. Passed some really stunning scenery along the Mekong River and some pretty heavy rapids. Not a lot happens on a slow boat I’m afraid! 

We had a group of English youngen’s who decided to get loud and roudy with their supply of alcohol which was probably the only annoying thing about the journey – leave it up to the British youngsters to show up our country! The American guy with us and one of the English lads who wasn’t really participating in the drunkenness both got out their instruments – a yukalalee and bongos - so we had an awesome soundtrack for a while to drown out the roudyness! We stopped along the way to drop off locals and produce for the villages and ate lots. 

We arrived at Pakbeng around 6pm and we got onto the back of a pickup truck – standing only – like cattle to Bounmee. Checked in, had showers and then we both went down for dinner which was nice, had a couple of beers and chatted more, then decided to chill in the room until bed, as we had to be up early for breakfast and the boat the next morning.

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