While Dad and Des were out having a wow of a time exploring, Paul and I had a full day of work at the farm. It was an interesting day as we were cutting down trees that had been set aside as experiments and some of the results were not what we expected. Apart from the usual cutting, grading and setting up carving teams we also managed a few sales which was encouraging.
A busy day ended at our usual restaurant (the only half decent one in town) before another early night. The following morning Paul and I checked out of the hotel and left Dad and Des to sleep in. We went back to the farm to finalise a few sales as well as organise the carving team for the next few weeks work.
After lunch at the farm we began the seven hour drive to the capital of Laos, Vientiane. Before we left town we stopped in at the local market where Dad had found a small gravity water fed power generator for sale that he wanted some information about. Instead of myself battling through the language difficulties we took our manager along to translate.
Where did it come from? Vietnam, I think, not sure.
What company made it? Don’t know.
Who did you buy it from? Don’t know.
Who delivered it? Some truck, not sure.
Do you know where I could get any more information at all? No
Dad walked away shaking his head in disbelief while I chuckled to myself and said to him ‘welcome to doing business in Laos!”
Back on the road we had an easy run until the outskirts of Vientiane.
As we left later then expected we ended up driving the last hour in darkness which I was hoping to avoid. It is that time of the evening when all the farmers are heading home on bicycles, tuk tuks, tractors, two feet and a heat beat or buffalo and more often then not have half their livestock with them also. It wasn’t too bad actually but then it started raining and I discovered that my headlights decided they preferred to check out the moon instead of the road in front meaning everyone coming towards me was flashing me with their high beams which made things rather awkward.
Anyway, we made it safely around 7.00 pm and found the first two hotels we went to were full. The third one had some spare rooms so we grabbed them, unloaded and then went out for dinner.
I mentioned earlier in this series of blogs about the coffee addiction that Dad and Des have. It became the daily comedy show as they would retell there stories of trying to find a decent coffee in all the far flung places we were visiting. It got so bad that when they discovered a jar of nescafe in a market they celebrated like they had just won the lottery and took that everywhere they went along with some long life milk and made their own cuppa wherever they could get there hands on hot water.
Imagine the euphoria when they discovered that Vientiane actually had real coffee shops! They were in heaven and (they say due to the rain) they spent most of that night and the next day right here!
The next day Paul and I spent in the office sorting wood and making plans and by mid afternoon we were all finished. Our work was done! We caught up with the oldies for coffee and then went out for a good dinner which was a nice way to finish things off.
At 6am the next morning we were all packed up and ready to go. First stop was the airport to drop Paul off so that he could catch his flight home to Australia. For the three of us left we followed our nose (and missed the turn off) to the bridge to take us back over the Mekong and into Thailand. No problems here and we made good time to Udon Thani were with a few phone calls managed to find a pub called the Irish Clock. I had been told that their breakfasts were really good so for research purposes for my shop thought I would check them out. It was pretty good (especially if you are from England) but I still prefer Peppers Big Breakfast with our home made bread and superior coffee.
It was here that we bid farewell to Des. He had a flight booked to Bangkok as he wanted to go and check out Kanchanupburi and Hua Hin for a few days before joining us back in Ubon.
That left just Dad and I and we had a nice easy drive all the way back home to Ubon arriving back a little after 4pm to some very excited kids.
It was a great trip, a lot of fun, a little bit of work and really good company. Thank you Dad, Paul and Des for your companionship and I hope that this isn’t the last time we get to do it!
This ends the reports on our trip to Laos. I will do one more catch up post of my parents visit to Thailand (when we visited the village) next.