Posted by: James Shannon | March 7, 2011

Sabadee Laos!

Sorry again about the delay getting the first part of the Penang photo essay up (TONS of content so it’ll be a multi-parter, can’t wait to post it all!), but the internet here in Luang Prabang is deathly slow, took ten minutes to upload one photo, then it stopped cooperating altogether, and so, here we are.

My ride from Huay Xai, my entry point was interesting … took the overnight bus to give myself the best chance at finding a room in LP the next day, costing about 145,000 kip (before you panic, that’g roughly $19 CDN for a 14 hour bus ride).  Road started out paved for the first five hours, then it became dirt road, and the next nine hours felt like a non-stop earthquake and dust storm rolled into one, as dust infiltrated the ventilation system of the bus.

My entry into Laos was eventful too, as I got ripped off by my first corrupt official … the entry fee to Laos for Canadians is $42 USD … I only had Thai Baht on me, and was charged 1700 Baht … problem is, 1700 THB equals $57 CDN.  I knew this, but the offical wouldn’t have any of it, and refused to hand back my passport without me paying the extra $15 on top of what I was supposed to pay!

Lesson: when the regulations say pay in $USD, get $USD before you go to the border!

As far as the present goes, I’m typing this in my tastfully appointed guesthouse room (no sarcasm, French architecture and cheap currency for the win!) that I only paid 90,000 kip ($12.67 CDN) a night for, and I am planning to seek out the Mekong riverfront tomorrow (I failed at finding it today, but I saw a good bit of the town in the process), as well as a few temples.

As for the photo essay posting schedule, please be patient. Laos is one of the bottom 20 poorest countries on Earth, so I was expecting to run into download speed issues.  When I do start posting Penang photos, you’ll enjoy them, I have no doubt about it!

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