Pakse to Luang Prabang: Sunday 2nd March 2008

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Today was a transit day. Our guide wanted to pick us up at 8:00 in the morning for an 11:45 flight. This would have left us sitting at the airport for nearly 4 hours. When challenged the night before, he said it was something to do with the airport, and not knowing enough I didn’t argue it with him. But after checking with the hotel desk, I decided to leave him a message and we would make our own way to the airport.

I was up when he arrived so told him directly that we would just catch a tuktuk to the airport ourselves. He said to leave it with him, and a phone call later he said he had a driver arranged that would take us to the airport at 10:00. Much better.

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We went for a walk around town, visiting a very quiet and low pressure market and a small shopping mall.

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We walked past the temple, then hoping to fulfil my quest for a Laos coffee we walked into a nearby café. When I asked for Café Laos, I was told no, this is a Vietnamese Café! We ordered coffee anyway, curious to try a Vietnamese style coffee since for some reason we never actually had one when we were in Vietnam.

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We were presented with this strange contraption which we weren’t quite sure what to do with. Some investigation showed that the coffee was inside a filter sitting on top of the cup; the cup was inside a bowl of hot water to keep the coffee hot as it filtered down into the cup. The coffee was quite nice and sweet, though very strong!

So Laos coffee had eluded me again. The coffee we were getting in restaurants and at the hotels wasn’t very good, and nowhere near as nice as the coffee we were being served in hotels and restaurants in Myanmar, and I was determined to find this real Coffee Laos!

We returned to the hotel and awaited our airport transfer. Our wait at the airport was shorter than expected as our Vientiane flight actually left early!

Mone collected us from Wattay Airport with his usual beaming smile and formalities and took us into Vientiane where we had lunch at the Khop Chai Der Restaurant. This was a very popular place with tourists and locals and we had a chicken and cashew nut dish, spring rolls and coconut fish mousse wrapped in banana leaves. Really nice fruit juices finished off with a Iced Coffee Laos which was really nice.

We said our goodbyes to Mone at the airport and were soon on our way again to Luang Prabang. The flight was very scenic with the Mekong River flowing through steep mountain ranges.

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We were met by our new guide Nikhom who transferred us to our hotel Le Parasol Blanc. It was a little out of town, but was very nice with beautiful gardens and a large pond with water lilies.

There was no itinerary today so we walked to a nearby Chinese Fete in the sports ground which apart from some clothes and things, mostly sold digital photos of yourself overlayed on a choice of background.

Boys played soccer nearby and ladies walked up and down the steep steps of a nearby temple and monastery.

We skipped dinner tonight, not in the least bit hungry.