Four years ago today..
Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
394Trip End Ongoing
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As for being couped up in a room for eleven days and the need for recuperation ever present, I had to get out of that guesthouse in Udomxai. If I'm to rest up it's not going to be in a dark room in the middle of nowheresville. Not on September 9th.
Taking a local bus four hours east (through some spectacular mountainous scenery) brought me to Nong Khiaw, a tiny riverside village enveloped on all sides by huge imposing karst mountains, each one rising sharply out of the chocolate brown Nam Ou river. Accommodation is basic but charming and comes in the form of individual wooden huts perched on the steep-sided banks of the Nam Ou.
I've never been anywhere like this. For me it's a positive continuation on the theme started in the Kanchanaburi province, but then it's not, it's actually a lot more. 'Same same' but very different. It's the kind of place a painter would come to paint or a writer to write. It's an awesome environment to soak up, even better to kick back and unwind, or in my case, heal. It's cheaper here too and much more rural, much more real.
Apart from the randoms I shared the bus with I haven't seen another white face, so things couldn't be better. Plus I'm slowly getting stronger. Still sporting the same bad back but it's healing slowly, day by day. It's now just a matter of being patient, and sensible, which is good cos' there's a hammock on the balcony to sit and swing in the river breeze.
I'm sharing all this with the same randoms I met on the bus from Udomxai: Kristof from Belgium, Vanessa from Spain and the delightfully cheeky Eriko from Japan - a great blend of chirpy characters and as we're all travelling independently on completely different itineraries the stories have been plentiful and banterful - a sparkling change from the last eleven days of solitary..
Where I stayed