Pak Beng to Luang Prabang
Jan 3, 2013
|Second Day relaxing on the Mekong
This morning we did not have a “fowl” awakening, but a “canine” one – and it was at 1.30am! Dogs fighting in the street in front of our bedroom window.
We had to be ready to go at 8 am, so it was up at 6 am; then the normal routine (by now) of shower, packing, breakfast. This morning we had time to watch an elephant being led to the river for his/her morning “cup of tea”! There is an elephant centre across the river where tourists can get rides on the elephants. These are working elephants, not wild ones.
The luggage boys were at the door waiting for a chance to carry our boats to the boat. They know when the boats leave and can do this before school starts. Eke noticed that the boy who had carried her backpack up the day before, was keeping his eye on her bag already as he stood in the doorway. As soon as the boys noticed that we were ready to leave, the boy ran to grab her bag. These boys are experts, he knew exactly how to adjust the straps for him to carry the bag. There was a discussion in the group whether children should do this work. We did learn that earning the money means they can pay for school.
We settled into our second day on the boat. We read, talked to the other people, did the journal, figured out more about the camera (Brian), and just watched the villages, the other boats and the mountains flow by.
Lunch again was delicious. This woman prepares such a delicious meal in a very small, probably simple kitchen without all the gadgets that we are used to. After lunch several of us had a little snooze!
At 3pm we docked at the entrance to the Pak Ou caves. The caves are filled with Buddha images from as early as the 1500’s. The first cave has about 2500 images and the second one (300 steps higher) has about 1500. It was impressive to see how all of these images have been saved through the ages, although our guide said that a lot of them have been stolen over the centuries. We had some nice views over the river from that height. There was a feeling of being a small link in the chain of time and history. People were there long before us and people will come there long after us.
We arrived in Luang Prabang at about 4pm. A tuk tuk took us to our guesthouse: Thongbai. The road to the guesthouse off the main road is a dirt road and the tuk tuk bouced quite a bit! It is a beautiful peaceful place by the river. We all have private bungalows consisting of a large bedroom and a large bathroom and a porch! The bungalows are very clean and surround a beautiful garden where we can get breakfast served if we so wish. There is a kind of gazebo right at the river. Upon our arrival we were greeted with a glass of orange juice and a warm piece of banana cake!. Very sophisticated and very much appreciated!
The guesthouse has two mini vans that shuttle guests for free downtown at certain times of the day. We took the van downtown at 7pm to stroll through the night market and after that dinner at the Coconut Garden. It was a great meal and we all took a tuk tuk back. Sleep came fast at the end of that day!