Pak Beng

We stayed overnight in this village on our way up the Mekong River. We are travelling on a slow boat for two days, so it is fortunate that I’m feeling healthy again.

The boat is quite comfortable, with old seats from dead mini-buses to sit on. I was amused to see a small offering to Isuzu, god of diesel engines, on top of the motor. The boats coming downstream are often overcrowded, but ours is only half full which means we get two seats each.

There are much smaller fast boats which pass us regularly, but Lonely Planet suggests you would be safer on a surfboard with a car engine strapped on the back. The drivers all wear full-face crash helmets with visors, so presumably things go horribly wrong from time to time. The brave (or foolhardy) passengers have to take their chances. I have yet to see a motorbike rider with a helmet.

It is very relaxing way to travel, watching the scenery go by while we read our books. The photo is of our hotel, and we are sitting in the cafe waiting for departure time. There are excellent bakeries throughout Lao, thanks to the French influence, so we have fresh croissants for lunch.

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