Well I am back from another Laos trip getting in late yesterday afternoon. Before I start blogging about that and uploading some fantastic photos that my Dad took I need to finish my previous Laos trip report from a few weeks ago. I don’t know how long this will take as between work, having my parents here, visiting the village for two days followed by a two day business trip to Bangkok all in the next 9 days I am not quite sure how much time I will have.
We left after breakfast for the three hour drive to Pakse in Laos. This was he first time we had taken our car out of the country but apart from a few small hiccups it really didn’t take all that long.
Seerung getting charged double for the compulsory car insurance really made my day. When I asked her how much it cost she happily told me 400 baht and I said that it should have been only 200. She showed me this receipt for 50,000 kip and so I asked how much to you think 50,000 kip is? 400 baht was her reply – the look on her face when I told her that 50,000 kip is actually 200 baht was priceless! She was furious and wanted me to drive back and have a go at them! Seerung had never been to Laos before (amazing given that her home village is less then 20 km from the border) and most Thais look down on the lowly Lao so for her to be ripped off minutes after arriving gave me the great opportunity to say ‘welcome to my world in Thailand’. I should clarify that this only is evident occasionally in Bangkok and never here in Ubon Ratchatani.
We arrived around 2pm into Pakse and checked in to the Pakse hotel. I do not recommend this place. Their advertising was a little mis leading and they had some seriously safety flaws which when you have small kids is a real worry. The rooftop restaurant is worth checking out though.
We went out in search of food and tried a place on the opposite corner. The food was terrible and when Seerung took Marisah to the toilet she came back out almost dry reaching so we quickly paid our bill and went back to the hotel to use the toilet!
We then took the car to try and find Delta Coffee but they were closing early that day due to the staff all being tired. Back to the hotel and a walk through the market then off to the Mekong river for fried fish then back to the hotel room for an early night.
After the average buffet breakfast in the morning we thought we would try Delta Coffee again for a caffeine fix before heading up to the Bolaven Plateau. Thwarted again as they weren’t open even though it was an hour after they time the told us yesterday they would be, the staff must have really been tired!
We were heading up to the Bolaven Plateau to have a look at the plantation that our shop here in Ubon, Peppers, buy our coffee from. We were given directions but were not told how bad the road was. The road to Paksong was fine but from there to the plantation it was just terrible. I think I got in to 2nd gear once and that was only for a few seconds. We we thought we had arrived at the farm and turned into the driveway we asked someone how much further. He told us another 10 kms! We turned around and headed back which was a shame as I found out later that it was only 2kms and the road was quite good.
Here is a well looked after plantation along the way.
The school are so much poorer looking then those of their neighbours in Thailand.
Back to Paksong where we saw a English sign saying coffee so thought we should drop in. It was run by an eccentric but likeable fella from Holland who went by the name of ‘Coffee’ and runs tours of coffee plantations for visitors. This is his website.
Notice the beautiful rich soil that is prevalent around the plateau that his wife is levelling out in the front yard? Well I commented on how rich it was and asked him what he planned to grow. “Concrete” he replied!
Next door a local lady was de-husking rice.
While a few kilometres down the road coffee beans were drying.
We went back to Pakse and I took the kids to sleep at the hotel while Seerung went off for a massage. That evening we all went to the roof top for a drink and to watch the beautiful sun set.
Here is Ariya and Marisah enjoying the fresh air.
The next morning after breakfast we headed north for Savanakhet then over the river back to Thailand and a town called Mukdahan. This will be part three of the report coming soon.
To finish, here are a few more pics from around the small, quiet but apparently thriving town of Pakse and then best (and perhaps only) good thing the French left behind – yummy fresh bread!