Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Two days on a slow boat from Thailand to Laos
From the tip of Thailand, we took a "slow boat" to Houeixai, Laos. It's called a slow boat beacause there's a much faster one - wherein you have to wear a safety helmet - and i heard stories that it wasn't that safe. the slow boat ride to Louang Phabang (Laos) however takes two days with an overnight stopover at Pakbeng. The ride is along the Mekong river and is quite nice as it is a bit uncomfortable. Sketching made my trip not just bearable but real nice.
When we arrived at the shores of Louang Phabang, it was late in the evening - I could hardly see a thing. i remember we had to clamber up a hill from the dock. Reaching the top, I saw an absolutely magical sight - the main road (not very wide) was a turned into night market. There wasn't any electricity that night and so the whole street was lined with the warm glow of candles. It was wonderful to see and I was absolutely mesmerized.
Morning brought me even more wonders - I saw the whole town was full of old French colonial architecture. I thought, "Ah! I'll just stay by the curb and draw all day long" - which is exactly what I did. Of all the stops in all the 10 countries I visited in the trip, Louang Phabang was my favourite.