We have been making the most of the rice in the past couple of months, and now the harvest has begun. Our beautiful green lake of life has almost completed it’s annual life cycle and with that brings our winter time. Already the evenings are a lot cooler and we have had to get out our blankets.
Once the rice starts to form, even more beetles, insects and birds appear in the fields. There is only a period of about a month between when the first heads of rice begin to emerge and when the rice is harvested – up until that point you can only see the rice plants and no actual rice.
Project Laos is coming along nicely, and we recently spent a chilled out day there picnicing on the Nam Tha river and learning to play majhong with Melanie and Bianca, and Wilke also joined us in the afternoon.
We also spent a few days staying on the Mekong, chilling out and exploring the Thai side of the border.
We welcomed yet more people to Luang Namtha to help Project Laos, Ryan and Melissa and their kids Talia and Elise (officially the first western children to live in Luang Namtha!) and also Dave have all come to help us do good stuff here in Luang Namtha.
Finally we celebrated another end of Buddhist Lent, our favourite ceremony of the year with releasing lanterns and sending flowers down the river to send away any bad luck and welcome good for the coming year. So it looks like now we’re all set for our next adventure – our third attempt to get into Cambodia!
The day before we were going on the river trip down the Nam Ou and Mekong rivers, we all went to the port in Nong Khiaw to negotiate chartering a boat to Luang Prabang. After speaking to several boat owners/drivers, we agreed with one of them that we would come back at 9.30am the next day and pay 1 million Kip for him to take all of us. We weren’t 100% sure if the deal was done, as he was laughing a lot, but he said that 9.30am and 1 million was fine and we’d see him tomorrow morning. So as agreed, the 6 of us (the original 5 plus another girl we met in town) turned up before 9.30 to get his boat, and soon found out that he didn’t have a boat, couldn’t take us for 1 million, and thought the whole thing was hilarious. We thought it was pretty funny too, it seemed like a typical Lao way to start our day, and unphased we went to talk to some other boat drivers. We managed to find someone who would take us for 1.2 million, and we also found 2 other Polish girls that wanted to come with us, so once we’d seen his boat, the 8 of us agreed to go with him.
It turned out to be the most perfect day we could have hoped for – the weather started off a bit overcast with the sun just peeking through, and then the clouds cleared and we had beautiful blue sky for most of the way.
We spent the first 4 or 5 hours going down the Nam Ou river, seeing limestone carsts, local fishermen working, small villages and people going about river life. Then we joined onto the mighty Mekong river and saw the Pak Ou caves, and eventually arrived at Luang Prabang. We were both quite surprised at how beautiful the Mekong is – visions of muddy brown water was not exactly incorrect, but it is definitely a lot more picturesque in real life than in photos. It was a fantastic day and as expected was well worth it to charter the boat rather than getting the bus. Our photos are here.