The minivan that was supposed to pick me up from the hotel wasn’t there of course and after a while I got the hotel owner to ring him up another thirty minutes later he arrived, picked up some passengers and dropped us at the mini bus station where I got in a van with four others and we started for Nong Khiaw.
It’s starting to rain again.
The four other passengers are a couple from Melbourne, Nina from Germany and Alex from Virginia. We have a chat and while the rain gets heavier we weave our way through the mountains, there are a few minor landslides but the road is generally in good nick and we arrive just after lunch.
The main street in Nong Kiaw is a slippery mud slide and we slip and slide our way across, most of the hotels look quite drab, cheap but no atmosphere, the continuing rain doesn’t help either. The Australians eventually decide on a cottage with a river view and I suggest to Nina and Alex that we have a look and see if their is a boat to Muang Ngoi Neua. In spit of the weather it’s a fantastic trip, green mountains on both sides of the boat, serious water flow and rapids to go against.
On Muang Ngoi Neua things move at the slowest pace possible, we have bungalows overlooking the Pak Ou river and a few hammocks strung out in front.
This place is well of the beaten track the only way in or out is by boat, there is no Internet and electricity from six to nine thirty in the evening.
I think I am going to like it here.