Leaving Laos

Wobbling out of bed at 7:30, I rushed around packing the last few things and grabbing breakfast. I fell into he same mealtime-related trap as I had prior to the waterfall visit and had far too little time to eat (and check my email *ahem*) than I needed. The one thing that’s irking me right now is a lack of response from the insurance company regarding my camera. Their auto-email told me to expect a reply in 24 hours and it’s been three days. I dropped them another message.

The nice guy who runs the hostel asked when I would be back and I had to honestly tell him I didn’t know. He smiled, laughed, shook my hand and said “one year!”

Outside, it was the stereotypical Asian situation of actually needing a tuk-tuk for once and there not being any within eyesight. Usually you spend all day either ignoring them or saying “no thank you”. I finally located one, agreed a fare of three dollars and jumped in.

The airport is maybe 15-20 minutes away and I hopped out at the other end along with several other tourists on other tuk-tuks, some of whom I recognised. A shame we didn’t communicate more as we could have shared one and saved some cash! I had a little fun with my driver as he wanted paid in Kip and I had exactly none, only dollars.

“You say 30,000 Kip”

“No – you say 30,000 Kip. I say ‘3 dollar’ and you say ‘good'”

“Three dollar not enough. Only 9000 Kip for one dollar. Give me one more.”

This went on for a while until I told him I had 10 dollars for departure tax and 20 dollars to get into Cambodia. He could take the three dollars I had or I could take them back. He settled for the three dollars. In honesty, I think the guy was just in so much of a rush to get me into his tuk-tuk in town that he missed the part of the conversation where we agreed on three bucks instead of Kip.

I’m typing this up in the lounge at Luang Prabang airport. I’ve passed through the most lax luggage x-ray ever, been checked in by the most laid-back airport staff and then stamped out of the country by some not-as-unpleasant-as-usual immigration officers.

Next stop, Siem Reap in Cambodia (via Pakse as my flight’s not direct, grr).

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