Peace and quiet
Nong Khiaw Travel Blog› entry 34 of 100 › view all entries
January 28th, 2007 – by: jimcowdrill
I was aiming for Muang Ngoi Neua, a little village that had been highly recommended to me by a couple of people on the Thorntree, but I didn't get there today. A minibus took me to Nong Khiaw, from which you can get boats up the river to Muang Ngoi - there's no road to the place - but when I arrived I couldn't be arsed getting straight on a boat.
Took a room in a little guesthouse with a magnificent view of the river, then went for a walk. The sealed, one-and-a-half-lane road down which I was walking was Laos' National Route 1, but traffic would pass me no more than every few minutes. The road was level, winding between impossibly sheer green mountains. Eighty-five percent of the country's terrain is mountainous. A sign pointed off the road towards "history and nature", and I followed it across a rickety wooden bridge and along narrow raised paths between flooded rice paddies, until I reached Tham Pha Thok.
Early in the Vietnam War, a treaty was signed by the US, China, Vietnam and others guaranteeing Lao neutrality and banning foreign military personnel from the country.
Back in my guesthouse, I settled on the balcony to watch the sun go down. The guy in the room next to me was sitting on his balcony, smoking a spliff. He'd been on the same kayaking trip as me two days ago; at the time it had completely passed me by that the reason his kayak was always two hundred yards behind the rest of us was that he was getting high rather than paddling. I'm such an idiot sometimes. Anyway. He was American, but he'd studied in Leicester (off all places) and picked up the deeply disconcerting habit of calling people 'mate'. Talked to him for a while; fried veg and fish for dinner (cos the restaurant had no meat); bed.
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