Feb 28, 2008

Tuk Tuk to Nowhere (Ian's Diary)

The dream has failed, the honda is lost, and we are again without a motorbike to call our own.

Seth and i split ways in Luang to the MOtherlovin Prabang, Laos. Seth took the Dream II Motobike, and i hoofed it on the Tuk Tuk route. We were to meet up in Thailand. The trip turned out to be more harrowing than we thought. I had to take four seperate rides, and with each succesive ride the road got bumpier, dustier, less traveled, and less english spoken. I got covered in dust, had only 20 american dollars, but all in one currency (laos KIP), two guitars, a backpack, and a motobike helmut.

After the first 5 hour Tuk Tuk ride, which at one point held 23 people in its tank, 6 chickens, three women with three umbrellas, three babies, three baby slings, and three bags of food, along with one FaLang (white person), i stopped in Xayaboury. I attempted to find seth here, to no avail, and went wandering in the streets of this dusty one road town. I was almost immediately hailed by a group of young Laos peoples, sitting around a table with around 30 beer bottles emptied at their feet. One girl was holding a cup, filling it with beer, and handing it to one person at a time. THis is the way they drink, that one girl decides how drunk you get. Being the "faLang" i got my own cup, and got to drink everytime any one else did. In a drunken stupor i jumped on the back of a motorbike, and they drove me to a guesthouse, where i drunkenly argued the price down by 40% and flopped on the bed, only to awaken four hours later to turn the light out.

The next morning, every single person i asked about getting to the laos Thai border told me "No" . Ummmmm?!@?

I finally wandered upon a tuk tuk driver who told me he'd take me to Pak MOng, I have no map at this point, and no guide book, really a stupid faLang, and just figure, that doesn't sound north of here, and off i went.

With the name of the border town written down, Nam Hueng, i managed to finneagle my way to the border, and walked the last 6 KM as opposed to paying 3 dollars for the taxi.

The border was absolute chaos. There was a bazaar of food vendors, small shoe stores, a construction site, and a Thai-Lao friendship bridge. There were no signs, no white people, and one long line of Laos people, with military men filling out forms in the open air. I waited in the line for about 30 minutes after devouring two meat sticks. (mystery meat) Finally a military man motioned me over, and pointed in the general direction of the border and off i went.

Another random building appeared and i stopped to ask what to do. The military man then looked at me, pointed at the dream and produced seths email address. He had been here yesterday, and the dream had not been allowed into thailand, and seth had not been allowed back into Laos. No matter his bribing or insisting. The military man then told me in a grave way that my friend was in the hospital in Loei.

What? in the hospital? for what? and how did he get there with out the motorbike? So once again i got on an unknown number of tuk tuks to a destination that was never actually stated, with only Laos currency, and made my way to Loei, where my bank card didn't work at the bank, and the two hospitals didn't contain seth, and finally i got three laos girls found at a hotel to change my kip into baht, because my bank blocked my account once again!

It turns out seth tried to use a made up heart condition to get the border control to let him in, which didn't work. I met up with him, and have had some relaxing days in a charming little city in the north of thailand.

The dream may be over, but our thailand adventures are just beginning.

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