This morning consisted of another noodle soup breakfast and the not so scenic but quicker bus journey back to Luang Prabang. After lunch at the bakery restaurant, we had a rather boring but constructive afternoon : James organised his flights and other transportation down to Ko Lipe and i investigated the easiest and cheapest method of getting hold of some more money and the process involved in extending my 15 day visa by a few extra days.
Initially when i planned to enter Laos (before the prospect of meeting up with James arose) i had planned to head up to Luang Nam Tha and Muang Sing from Huay Xai and then back down to Lunag Prabang (via Udomaxi) and on through to Vang Vieng and Vientiane. Due to having to pay the majority of my speedboat fee in dollars and making the diversion to Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi, i now do not have enough money or time to complete the loop up to Luang Nam Tha and Muang Sing AND get down to Vientiane. Wiring money is expensive (about 60 quid)and takes time, so my only option is to take a detour straight down to Vientiane when James leaves.
We spent the evening firstly down at a little restaurant right on the beach (which James had spotted on the boat out to Nong Khiaw) to watch the sunset, and then headed up to Lao Lao Garden (right next to the popular Westerner’s hangout, The Hive Bar) warming ourselves around a huge camp fire, which was the focal point of the pretty outside seating area.
I’m very glad our paths were able to cross once more, and that i had someone to share the fantastic experiences of the past week with. However, the longer you spend with someone you’ve found a bond with, the harder it becomes to see them leave. I don’t know that i’ll ever be able to meet up with James again but i know that we’ll stay in touch for sure. We had a lovely breakfast the following morning at a cafe right on the Mekong, before he departed in a tuk tuk bound for the airport to start his mission down to Ko Lipe, and i checked into the Mala Guesthouse (couldn’t afford Silichith’s $9 per night on my own) and spent the afternoon sipping banana shakes and updating this journal.
I also wandered around a few of Luang Prabang’s temples and in the evening, no meat eater to consider, i finally got to eat at the vegetarian buffet at the Night Market. It was probably one of the tastiest ways to spend 5,000 KIP.
Photo is of sunset over the Mekong viewed from the little beachside restaurant where James and i spent the last night in Luang Prabang.