The road from Pakse to Savanakhet was uneventful apart from a truck roll over and a section of irrigated rice fields which broke up the rather brown barren landscape with some patches of brilliant green.
We got into Savanakhet around 1pm so stopped for lunch. Previously I had entered the location from google earth into my GPS of a highly recommended French Restaurant. Unfortunately the location directed us to the middle of the Mekong River! (Well I did stop on the bank.) Actually this happened on a couple of occasions on this trip and someone told me that if you take locations from Google Earth and transfer then to your GPS they are usually a few hundred metres out. Why is this?
Anyway we ended up at another mediocre place for food before pushing on as we had made a booking back over the river in Thailand at a place called Mukdahan. It was a place I had read about online and spoken with the owner on the phone, a bit of a bed and breakfast that we were looking forward to.
Everything went smooth at the border crossing until the final check point when we were sent back due to some irregularity. It turns out that we had forgotten to check the girls into Laos. What an embarrassing stuff up! As my girls have Thai and Australian Passports we obviously only brought their Thai ones as it is so much easier and cheaper for a Thai to enter Laos then a Westerner. So easy that we simply forgot to check in! While I was organising my visa the girls waited in no mans land having a coffee and then we then simply drove off.
The Laos immigration people gave us a hard time demanding a $200 US dollar fine needed to be paid. Seerung talked them down to 500 baht ($15) thank goodness.
So finally we were back in Thailand and easily found Dons place. We unloaded and had a look around. It was exactly what we had pictured, a room for us and a room for the kids. The rooms opened out onto the pool deck and had great views of the might Mekong River. The place got even better though when we started ordering food! It really was top quality stuff. Imported western food goods and the best quality local produce for the Thai food meant that for the three days that we were there we didn’t eat anywhere else!! We did pop into town twice but always ended up back at the house for meals.
Basically we just played with the kids, swam, read, ate and drank. It was just what we needed. After three days we paid up our quite modest bill and made the 2 1/2 hour trip home to Ubon. We were relaxed and ready to face a new year with the business this time as 100% owners.
If anyone is interested in getting hold of Don then you can call him on 042632577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
*Edit* September 2012 – they now have a website.
Here is the outside of his house.
The pool with the Mekong in the background on a misty morning.
Peeking over the fence and this is what you see.
Checking out the pool.
The best Lamb Chops I have had for years!
Steak was going to be on the menu that night but Ariya wouldn’t catch it for us!