Life on the Mekong and Other Rivers

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog, including strong statements in support of weinerdog-riding monkeys, are our own, and not those of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. government.

Monday, January 01, 2007

VV Continued

After a leisurely breakfast, I put Marla and Lesley into a boat to go into town via the Nam Song river while Katherine, Jack and I drove to meet them.

Then we headed across the river on the new fancy-schmancy bridge and went to the Phu Kham cave, about 6 KM away down a dirt road. Katherine and Jack stayed on flat ground while Marla, Lesley and I climbed up to the cave entrance, about two hundred meters up a pretty steep climb. The climb was made more difficult for Lesley given her club hand.

The cave is very large, and easy to explore on your own, but we grabbed a kid named Nou and asked his price anyway. He quoted a very high price (for him) and I thought, hey, it's new year's eve and why not, so to Nou's surprise, I said fine. $2 from my pocket to his. I paid him his exhorbitant fee just before exiting the cave, and when we got out, he proudly pulled his wad of cash from his pocket to show his friends. I told him it was a high price, but he was worth it.

The road to Phu Kham Cave goes through a shallow stream. There is a small bridge we could have crossed, then continued on foot the 2 KM or so to the cave, but with Jack along, I decided we'd just go ahead and drive through the river. It was pretty shallow, about knee-deep at its deepest point.

On the way back to Vang Vieng, I had Katherine get out and cross the bridge ahead of us so she could capture my manly off-roading adventure on film.

After what was to be a quick lunch at a riverside restaurant (actually took about 90 minutes), we piled back into the car for our return to Vientiane. We left at about 4:20, which gave us enough time to get out of the mountains before dark, but not all the way home. I hate driving at night in Laos. The people walking, riding bikes, or hanging out along the road don't generally wear reflective clothing. Neither do the cows.

Jack didn't like the drive home either, and we had to stop at a gas station about 30 KM outside of Vientiane for a while so he could get a snack and calm down. I took the opportunity to play a little rattan ball with two young kids and Marla took the opportunity to walk through a big spider web, coating her pretty much from head to toe in sticky silk.

By the time we got home we were all pretty tired of being in the car, although Jack was the best, and loudest, at expressing how he really felt. We decided to have a new year's eve at home rather than trying to gather the energy to go out. So I was dispatched to get pizza and red wine and we hunkered down and waited for midnight.

At 12:03, Katherine was in bed.

Happy New Year!


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