The day starts early. Leanne and I meet for breakfast at 7:15. She is taking a couple weeks off traveling to simply breathe. Me, well, I’m to be on a boat at 8:30 according to my line of thinking yesterday, but as the time approaches, I am less inclined to move. When in doubt about a next step, sometimes it is best to stand still. So that’s what I’ve decided to do.
I walk down to the boat, say goodbye to my new friends (from the slow boat from Huay Xai) and exchange contact information. I am sure our paths will cross again somewhere (literally) down the river. Back to the cafe, another coffee, and a brilliant conversation with Leanne.
I stow my bags and we decide to go for a walk. Down by the river, we watch fifty Laotians (mostly women) unloading a boat full of 50 kilo sacks of grain and transfer them to a truck for shipment to China. A full days work earns a wage of 50,000 kip ($6.50US) and this is backbreaking work. It is quite hot out and the sun is shining. Their clothes are suited more for a brisk North Dakota autumn evening than sub-tropical hard labor. I tire just watching them work. Our hike takes us up above the town and affords beautiful views. We meet children in the streets, one shows off his skills with his slingshot. Leanne does cartwheels with the kids.
We are both a bit wiped out from last night’s late night talk show, so we decide to break for a nap. I can’t sleep, so I go out to find a coffee and a place to catch up on some writing. “Going out” for something here just means stepping out of your hotel. Most accommodations are located on the road that follows the river bank. There is another road, roughly parallel, a bit further up the hill, but that’s really the extent of the roadways here. The town can easily be walked from one end to the other in 10 minutes.
It is a lazy day and one I enjoyed very much. Leanne continues to entertain and enchant. I enjoy the daytime because there is no one here but the locals, Leanne, and I. All the tourists that come in on the evening boats leave on the morning boats, so there is a bit of a social scene here at night, but not much. During the day time, its just plain quiet. Even most of the shops and restaurants are shuttered until the boats arrive. A bit of reading, some writing, an early dinner and the day winds down as quietly as it started.
Will he or won’t he catch the boat tomorrow??