Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Part 2 - Stallholders on Holiday

As promised, here is Part 2 of Adrian and Jane Jefferies' Holiday of a Lifetime!

The Mekong Explorer - or as Adrian liked to call it, The Black Pig!





21st

Hi all,

Currently cruising down the Mekong heading towards Nong Khai where a massage awaits!!!!

Only 10 passengers on board with 15 crew, Captain Pugwash is jolly nice even if he keeps saying Heave ho me hearties....

Attached is a picture of our boat, The Mekong Explorer (aka the black pig) and a deadly tree viper we found on our excursion this morning ( make that 9 passengers now! ).
"Deadly Tree Viper"


I Think we are pillaging and plundering tomorrow but the itinerary changes due to the river depth and the sobereity level of the navigator.

Woken up each morning by J Arthur Rank who bangs his gong outside your door until you get up and thank him with a friendly wave.

Weather hatefully good and the on board comestibles top rate, oh how you abhor this......

Jane hasn't vandalised any temples now for 3 days.....I think it was a phase she was going through.

Oil or Thai massage? See what tough decisions we have to make.

Think of us while cash and wrapping

Adrian and Jane

23rd

Hi all,
I blame the Laos rice whiskey........................
Yesterday we moored up at a sandbank along the Mekong. An ideal opportunity to swim in the Mekong which we all did, it took 15 rinses to get the yellow brown colour out of your trunks so it was basically an instant suntan.....I still pray it was mud my toes were squishing in when you touch the bottom of the river.....
In the evening we had a barbeque on the sandbank and later the crew sang us songs (including the Laos "we love the government" national anthem). Then the passengers had to sing a song.....we are Dutch, German, Swiss, Norwegian and Luxemborgian (?) so finding a universal song was difficult. Someone had to lead it, someone had to start a conga and start singing Hokey Cokey......as I say I blame the rice whiskey.
Two armed Laos army guys suddenly appeared to investigate the caterwauling and as we were technically illegal immigrants on this sandbank we had to bribe them with a few beers and some food. They disappeared into the jungle and we survived!
Unbelievable day, firstly at a Buddhist statue park and then a fantastic Chinese festival ....dragons, firecrackers and all sorts of colourful characters...like being at a Kiss concert!
Still enjoying this trip immensely and to quote a wise Monks words...."you work hard so i can relax it's all a question of balance.
Adrian and Jane

27th



Hi all,
The cruise has now ended and we are marooned on a large island in the Mekong. We left the cruise a couple of days ago, the last excursion being hair raising as we (actually me as Jane has a fear of heights....took 3 chaps to peel her off the cliff, she is now nicknamed gecko!) walked around a mountain cliff on a less than robust wooden walkway.

We also visited a local village and interrupted the primary school, what they thought of a lot of camera wielding foreigners I will never know but they were cute and in my best Thai I asked them how old they they were and got them to guess my age......the average was around a hundred!
Spent overnight in a Thai hotel near the border and then crossed back into Laos (legally this time...the armed army guys were enough for me) and transfered to this hotel...what fun that was!
First we drove to Pakse then caught a boat to Don Daeng (Red island) having to change boats as the first one couldn't make it to the shallow shore. Then we boarded a tractor pulled cart to get us up the sizeable beach to the hotel reception....really bizarre. We are on a 7 mile long island, we borrowed 2 bikes yesterday and rode to the local villages stopping for a beer with the locals, only beer no more rice whiskey!!!!!!

Atlas Moth

Great wildlife. Saw an atlas moth; this was a small one, they can reach 30cm across and is the largest moth in the world and today we saw a rare irrawaddy dolphin in the thousand islands (where the dressing comes from.......only had salad cream today!). Hotel room on stilts,typical teak construction with a palm leaf roof, even thrown in a local family to make it more realistic....grandma is a hoot!

"Tricycle" Taxi

Todays transport included an open sidecar attached to a moped, they call this a tricycle, fascinating way to travel, no helmets, no seat belts and totally open....I think our driver was only 10 as well.....and we survived even when the back moped tyre got a puncture halfway through.....It's like going back many years and its fabulous (just had to clear a grasshopper off the keyboard!).


Tractor and boat to Champersak tomorrow where we are reliably informed there is a massage shop............wheeeeeee!
Keep up the good work
Adrian and Jane


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