We were away by 7am for the short ride to our slow boat which would be our home for the next 8 hours taking us along the Mekong River to our home stay in Muang Pakbeng. Something had happened to the weather, it had gotten cold and wet just in time for our journey and as we climbed aboard the boat, we are all a bit apprehensive about how this trip was going to pan out.
It turns out pretty uneventful and pretty dire. The seats on the boat were uncomfortable, so the initial thought of ‘I’ll be able to sleep for most of it’ went out the window straight away, that and it being really cold, wet and windy. The only thing that was keeping me going was the fact I had a cinnamon bun from Joma with me should it all get too much!
The others were all in the same position, minus the cinnamon bun to rescue them, and we were holding on to the thought of a hot meal when we get to the home stay. Oh how wrong we were. The homestay was a 10 minute walk up a very muddy and slippery bank and through the village, with no heating or lighting to comfort us when we arrived. There were no locals to welcome us, it was too cold even for them, no kids to cheer us up, can’t believe I said that, and no hot meal, just luke-warm soup and rice with veg.
However, when you stop and think about it, which for me wasn’t until much later, this is what the people in the village have to go through everyday, whether it be hot or cold, and the experience was eye opening.
That said, all we wanted was a nice bed to sleep in, we were greeted with extremely thin mattresses covered by mosquito nets. So on went the layers, wrapped myself in my sleeping bag liner and huddled down to see if I could get any sleep at all.
A fairly uneventful day, but one that I can put down to having experienced and survived! A bit dramatic I know!
Knowing we had to get back on that boat again, and the thought of a hot shower at the next hotel, I drifted off to sleep.