On the sloooooow boat
Pakbeng Travel Blog› entry 48 of 55 › view all entries
Is it a bad sign when you can't sleep if you don't drink whisky? I think it is, but that's what happened last night anyways, so the 8 hours on the slow boat today seemed like it would last an eternity. We leave the hostel early, and it's not a bad place, for the price, it has a hot shower, which is all I really care about. And a balcony, of sorts!
So, we get a tuk-tuk to the pier, and I'm a bit worried about my arse, as I failed to buy a cushion last night, and the boat apparently has wooden seats, which may be a tad uncomfortable after 8 hours. Luckily, when we get on the long boat, there are cushions available, for free! And, there is quite a bit more room, than I thought there would be. It's about a 50/50 mix of Westeners, and locals, and there are also a few monks!
The ride really isn't as bad as I imagined it would be, it's a little uncomfortable after a while, but the views are spectacular, through acres of forest, and many, many fishing boats. The boat is almost like a bus, stopping to let people on or off at tiny bamboo villages on route. And there are life jackets! For the people at the front of the boat, so us at the back are screwed if we sink. Every now and again, we would pass a slow boat coming from Thailand, and it's packed! It seems we did well coming this way, and then we will see the death, sorry, speedboat zooming past us, with shit-scared looking Westerners on it....must be in a rush, it takes 6 hours to get to the border on one, rather than 2 days, but it's expensive, and there lots of crashes, some fatalities, so it doesn't seem worth the risk. Especially with the piles of rocks that jut out everywhere in the Mekong!
The only concern about the boat, was the huge spider Burg found. It was seriously 20 foot wide, with legs the size of humans. Luckily, he flicks it over the edge to a watery grave, but it looked evil. Apart from that, I spent the time burning the left half of my body successfully, and waiting for Pak Beng to arrive. After 9 hours, it did. We found a skanky guesthouse for 300 baht, with a cold shower, explore Pak Beng (doesn't take long!), then get some food, and hit the hay, exhausted. Same again tomorrow, though we don't have our ticket yet....