Chiang Mai - Luang Prabang

Chiang Mai is by far one of the best place I've been to. Time just seems to disappear in this place. Eating, drinking, massages, going to the night bazaar, spicy night club, boxing matches, there are endless things to do and the weather is great every day. I got some of my christmas presents together and went to a store and asked if they could wrap it for me. After 15 minutes of gesticulating, we finally understood eachother and the old woman started wrapping every pile of presents I had. Of course she did this after a young guy had found precisely the right boxes to put my stuff in so the gifts would be nice and prism shaped. After keeping these two people busy for an hour or more, they charged me 210 baht, roughly 5 euros, paper and ribbons included. Happy as fat guy at McDonald's, with free bigmac coupons, I left the store and thought I had at least gotten 50% of my gifts taken care of. The next evening, our last in Chiang Mai, I took my nice pink bike to the night bazaar to get the last stuff for my family. Close to closing time I had gotten all the last gifts I needed and tried my luck again by asking a woman at the last stand if she knew where I could get it wrapped. Expecting laughter, I wasn't high with hopes, but she brought me to a small post office at the corner. I tried to explain that paper wasn't enough, I would like to have help wrapping the gifts. The woman wistled two girls over from the pizza place across the street and they were up for the job. I was sitting there chatting while these cute girls were wrapping presents, with millimeter precision. Everything was closing around us, it was 12 o' clock, and they were still smiling and were even the first to congratulate me with my 27th birthday. I kept these girls busy an hour or so as well, but in the end I had a full set of perfectly wrapped presents and two new friends in Chiang Mai. What a wicked place! :)

November the 30th I went to the post office early in the morning. I shipped the Xmas presents to Norway and then headed back to the hostel. The team slowly gathered together. Mr Sloppyhands (Amir, the notorious loser of Jenga), Rainman (James, No explanation needed), Christopher Alexander and alwaysOnTimeDarlene. A minivan picked us up and we headed up to Chiang Khong, a border town to Laos. On the way I beat Chris countless times in chess, no wait, I counted, 5-0 was the score. In Chiang Kong we checked into a very basic, but nice and clean guesthouse. We had dinner included in the reservation and then we went out to take a beer. After all, I was 3^3 years old. We found this brilliant pub that was run by an old Belgian bloke. He was so nice and made sure that we had all that we needed. On the bus ride up and in the guest house we had already made some new excellent friends. One-armed Reg, alien-infested Marie, the Argentinians led by Juan, blonde swiss Michele, bday beer Carleigh, Hawaiian, but not so native Bryson and many more. In the bar we had loads of fun, but we lost Amir. He was gone for a good hour or so and we couldn't find him. Luckily he showed up again. Soon after the power went out, or so I thought. Out comes a woman with a birthday cake with loads of sparkling candles and everybody is singing happy birthday. I got a bottle of something which I haven't tried yet. It was a great day.

Getting to Laos by a slow boat, we first had to get some visas in order and then we headed down to the mekong river. Seeing that the slowboat was half full, alot of us thought it would never have enough space for us all. An aussie and a couple of others tried to start a mass demonstration to get an extra boat, but somehow the captain managed to set up more seats all the time. Half way in this funny battle, where people were screaming at eachother, my group entered the boat to make sure at least we had good enough seats. In the end the most stubborn were the last to enter and had to stand haha. The scenery down the river was amazing and we spent the time playing chess and connect four. After a good six hours ride or so we ended up in Pakbeng. A dirty little stopover town, which is basically one road full of guest houses, one bar and loads of husstlers and thieves. Felt like a wild west place, but we had a good time there and nobody I knew lost anything. At the bar we met the swiss and the Argentinian army and had some beers with them. The next day another eight hours were spent on the boat. I crushed most opposition in connect four, although some stabbed back a little. Sloppyhands, facehugger-victim, blondie, speedy-gonzales and chris were some of the ones feeling my cff ( connect four fury).

In Luang Prabang Anne die Gruppenführerin waited for us at the pier and we went to find ourselves a guest house. For breakfast I had some entertainment I've never had before. Two dogs were stuck ass to ass. Somehow they'd managed to end up in this position during intercourse and they walked around like this for fifteen minutes or so before they separeted. It was quite funny to watch. Luang Prabang is a much like Chiang Mai in the sense of being an easy place to relax and let time pass. We were lucky and arrived the week a film festival was held. We watched a documentary about a football team from Laos going to the gothic cup. The film had some stings towards the states for spicying up the country with cluster mines, and at the end of the film, the football team entered the stage and got an applause. Then they invited the American ambassador up to the stage and James got his wide angle lense ready. She was so fat she stood next to the whole team when she was up there. The day after our group went on a kajak and biking trip with a stop at a beautiful waterfall. We had a good time and the new members of the group made it all the more fun. The kajaking part was easy and everybody managed, even the french girls. Did I say everybody? Of course Rainman James managed to capsize.

More to come from Laos later! I got shitty connection so pictures will be added later.

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