Feb 19, 20
After taking a bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, Miguel and I arrived in Chiang Khong. Immediately after getting off the bus, we saw a sign posted outside a convenience store and followed the directions. They led us to a great guest house right on the Mekong River.
Nice people, great food, cheap room, a DVD player with a bunch of movies to choose from, and free wifi, Perfect!
This is Miguel using my computer to talk to his sister Liz (hi Liz!)
The guest house had a really pretty view of the Mekong River.
And from the dining room, we could hear karaoke blasting on the Laos side of the river (or so we thought).
They also had cute coffee cups
The next day we had a leisurely breakfast (I ordered green curry, of course) and we walked to the boat pier.
On the way, we passed a temple.
And some women fishing.
And we passed through a market. I got carried away buying funny T-shirts. There were lots of women selling colored silk threads.
Here’s some more stuff we saw on our walk.
Eventually we made it to the river, checked out of Thailand (via Chiang Khong), crossed the river by boat, and checked into Laos (via Huay Xai). Here is a post about the Chiang Khong / Huay Xai border crossing.
Huay Xai isn’t all that special, but it’s a decent enough place to stop and spend half a day.
We were going to leave the town right away, but we had already missed all the onward buses. So, we found a cheap guest house and stayed the night.
And we made some friends right away.
And instead of seeking out the vegan version of Laos food, we cheated and found an Indian restaurant.
Later, we experimented with veggie Laos Food: fried mixed vegetables minus the fish paste (but you can never really be sure if they actually took it out).
That evening, we sat by the Mekong River.
I call this photo “Miguel, A Buffalo, and An Umbrella.”
And we watched the sunset over the water.
After a while, we heard some music coming from a nearby street and we decided to follow it. It was the same music we thought was karaoke when we were on the Thailand side of the border the night before. But when we wandered up to it, we discovered that it was a wedding party! Apparently it had been going on for days. And these guys were really really drunk (and getting drunker). They invited us to join them, which of course we did.
They kept pouring us cups full of BeerLao, which we’d have to quickly chug (as we were all sharing the same plastic cups and needed to pass them on to the next guy). A few guys were stumbling around to pass around a bottle of the local whisky, Lao-Lao. After we took a few sips of the stuff, we definitely knew we didn’t want any more. And when they kept coming by shouting “Whiskey Lao! Whiskey Lao!” we had to politely decline. Then they’d try to compromise and pour us cups of half beer, half whiskey, and all shout “Beer Whiskey Laos!” We were having a lot of fun, but we did not want to end up as wasted as these people (which we surely would have if we kept drinking as fast as they poured our drinks). At least they water their beers down with lots of ice. The Thais do this as well and we thought it was a weird thing at first. But I suppose it works in your favor if you’re at a wedding party and want last through the evening without falling on your face.
The singer at the wedding party was really wonderful. I have videos, but again I can’t post them. They made me go up and dance Laos style. And when I told them all that Miguel was a famous singer in Texas, they forced him up to sing. I’m still convinced that Miguel’s song “Singing Alone in Laos” is gonna be a hit song someday. And I have a limited edition video of the song that I’ll show you guys when I get back home.
So Huay Xai turned out to be much more fun than we thought it would be. Good thing we ended up staying a night. We figured if all Laos people are like this, we were gonna have fun here.
So our intro to Thailand started with us being on a televised cooking show! And our intro to Laos started with a wedding party! Perfect!
- Doraemon is just as popular in Thailand as he is in Japan.
Thais also like Hello Kitty, although their T-shirts don’t always make much sense.
- I’m not sure what this means. Last call for chips? After that, no more?
- This seems to be a separate ferry for bugs.
Maybe this guy could catch a ride.
- Here are some Laos cultural etiquette lessons.
- Laos has some really cool vehicles. Wowee!