Friday, March 20, 2009

Muang Ngoi Neua

After a night of trying to ignore snoring to wake the dead and on a mattress of monastic hardness we got up to a lovely morning with a nice view from the bungalow balcony. The guesthouse may have been basic but it occupied a nice spot. Before taking the boat upstream to Muang Ngoi Neua we visited caves that were uswed during the second Indochinese war (the first being that with France, ending in 1954, the second being what is called the "Vietnam War" in the West). The stark mountains around the area are riddled with caves and the people of area sheltered in them as the American bombs fell destroying their towns. In the caves down the road from Nong Khiaw housed administration functions if the signs in the cave were to be believed.
At 11 we boarded the boat, much smaller than the one that we took down the Mekong to Luang Prabang. Freddie had developed a very painful back ache some time the previous day and it had gotten much worse. The boat was a bit cramped and it wasn't helping with this. An hour later we were dropped off at a small village up the river, it was a bit of a tourest haven though in the off-season we weren't expecting to encounter many 'falang' (the Lao word for foreigners, derived from French).
We found a nice little guesthouse overlooking the river. It was reasonably basic, no hot water (no guesthouse had this luxuary) but a reasonably comfortable bed and a nice view on the river.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking to a nearby village along a lovely path. The village was only accessable by boat and there were no cars amd scooters. The area was really quiet.

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