We bumped into Dre’s dad Tom on the border as if by well-timed fate. We had come to the border for Karen to do a quick visa run and to pick up some sliced bread from Thailand; a trip that was going to take us the day and we would be back in Luang Namtha for Tom’s arrival the following day. However, it would seem that we got our dates wrong, because just as Karen was heading down the stairs of immigration to get on the boat to Thailand, Dre called out and we both realised that Tom was standing right in front of us. It was pretty cool, because we had talked about staying the night either in Chiang Rai (to meet him at the airport) or at the border to meet him when he crossed, but we were both unsure about exactly when he was arriving and we’d left our computers back in LNT so we figured it would all work out somehow. So to meet at the border was really great – had we been 5 minutes earlier or he 5 minutes later, it is highly likely we would have missed each other and gotten separate transport back to Luang Namtha, so it really did work out well.
We took Tom to see the usual sights around Luang Namtha, the waterfall, stupas, etc and also up to Muang Sing to spend some time seeing some villages. We visited our favourite Ahka village and Hmong village as well. It was great to be able to show Tom around because he really appreciated what he was seeing and seemed to really enjoy himself.
On the way back out of the Hmong village we met up with a lovely little old lady who was hand making some handicrafts so we stopped for Tom to buy some, and continued riding back down the mountain with stunning views over Muang Sing.
Tom, Dre and Thong took a boys trip on a boat for a day on the Nam Tha river. They visited Lanten and Khmu tribe villages, and had lunch at the Forest Retreat confluence camp on the edge of the Nam Ha and Nam Tha rivers. All enjoyed the day a lot and came back to the shop for tequila shots!
We had a really good time showing Tom around, and his insights into life in Laos from when he lived here 20 years ago proved to be really helpful for both us and Thong for understanding each other’s culture more. Our photos of Tom’s visit are here.