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Onwards to Vietnam

September 12th

My stay in Vientiane was very short. There had been a number of bombings in the city during the early part of 2000. Therefore Interpid had rescheduled the tour so that the trip spends more time in Luang Prabang and thus does not stay overnight in the capital. We were picked up at the airport by 2 mini buses and had a quick stop at one if the stupas before heading out of town

Our next couple of nights were to be spent at an 'eco-resort' called Lao Pako which is about 45 minutes outside of Vientiane. This can only reasonably be reached by boat. The electricity is provided by solar power so if there is not much sun during the day then the lights go out early

The boat to Lao Pako

September 13th

Got up to find it raining hard. Waited a while for it to stop but decided that it wouldn't so we went to play a game of volleyball in the rain anyway. Soon afterwards it did in fact stop raining. A group of us decided to do some canoeing. Unfortunately all of the rain meant that the river was flowing very fast and we were completely incapable of canoeing upstream to return to the resort. Luckily our colleagues on the bank saw our predicament and sent the rescue boat out to pick us up. In the afternoon I went tubing down the river and this time managed to get to the resort without help from the boat.

Lao Pako has rather a lot of cats. Here are a few of them

September 15th

Got the boat back to the road and then into the minibuses for the long trip to the Vietnamese border. The terrain becomes more mountainous and the road conditions worsen as you head west.

On the road to Vietnam

On the way we passed an interesting village where empty fuel and bomb casings dropped by the Americans during the Vietnam war have been converted into boats. The night was spent at Lak Xao that has little to recommend it as a tourist spot except that it is near the border. It does have a night club where attractive ladies will come and sit with you for a small charge of 10000 kip. Unfortunately I never got a chance to try the local food speciality of rat on a stick - what a shame.

September 15th

Continued the journey to the border. Managed to spend the last of my kip (well nearly all of it) at the food stalls on the Lao side of the border and then exited for Vietnam

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