Divergence Time

So I’m trying to decide what to do now. Do I stay here and do a tour or do I get on the road to Cambodia? I’m sitting eating breakfast and I’m thinking about schedules. If I stay, I may not be able to go to Cambodia until tomorrow morning. I’d probably arrive in Phnom Penh at around 1800, giving me that night and the morning to look around. Siem Reap would find me on the night of the 9th, giving me the 10th, 11th and 12th in Angkor. The 13th would be spent going from Siem Reap to Bangkok. So it’s either here or Phnom Penh. I think Ill stay here.

Wow I haven’t written since leaving Chiang Mai. Laos has happened since then. Laos is much more relaxed than Thailand. The night market at Luang Prabang was much calmer than the one in Chiang Mai. Instead of booths lining the sidewalks they were on large mats on the sidewalk and street, which was closed to traffic. The stuff they sold was all cloth and clothing and figurines – none of the watches and lighters of Chiang Mai and Bangkok. This made it nicer but also didn’t interest me as much. The food was excellent.

We left the next morning on what we were told was a VIP bus but was really a public bus. The aisle was stacked with bags of rice weighing 50kg each. I got the center seat in the back, which means that I could put my feet up as if sitting in a reclining chair. The problem was that our guard (the man with an AK-47 who, presumably, was there to protect the bus from robbers – route 13 is a dangerous place sometimes) sat in front of me and kept scooting back until I couldn’t extend my legs. This lasted for about seven hours. The scenery was beautiful though. Everywhere there were green hills and striking rock formations, the occasional village dotting the road as we passed.

Vang Vieng was a cheaper place to stay, but not to eat. We had dinner along the Mekong, a river we’ve followed throughout Laos which ends near the Cambodia-Vietnam border. Unlike Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng itself is not the attraction. There are caves, waterfalls, and tubing. We decided to kill two birds with one stone and take a kayak trip down to Vientienne. It only took a few hours more and was quite fun, plus we got breakfast and lunch out of it.

We were in Vientienne a total of about two hours: one hour walking around, another waiting for the bus at the station. The bus to Pakse was pretty nice and went at night, allowing us to forego a guesthouse. Pakse saw us for about an hour before we left for Ban Nakasang. Nicole and I were already feeling not so well, and sitting near the back of the minibus delivered a good amount of exhaust, making it worse. Thus we wasted a whole day lounging and sleeping on Don Det. Lora couldn’t get her visa for Cambodia en route, so Nicole and Lora decided to fly from Pakse to Siem Reap, probably going to Phnom Penh after and then train or boat to Bangkok. They just left for Pakse, so for the last week, Im on my own.

a few hours later

I called Jen┬átoday but we only got to talk for about six minutes – such is the Lao phone system. I’m not as distracted without Nicole and Lora here, so I find myself thinking about her a bit more now, and that makes me homesick. I haven’t been in the States, or even a western country, for five months (one might consider Singapore as half western, but it’s different enough that I never mistook it for home). It’s a long time, but I think I could go longer with some company (hint hint┬áJen). I’ve been thinking about starting a travel wiki as a place for travelers to share information in the LP style. Imaging having all the LP books on your PDA. As long as you’ve got an internet connection every few weeks you could travel on very up-to-date information, not some 1998 edition LP.