Monday, 29 July 2013

Tha Khek

Barely anyone goes to Tha Khek, just a few intrepid (read: crazy brave) people doing 'the Loop' which involves 9 hours a day riding motorbikes through mud in a country where 11 year olds ride mopeds, chickens regularly cause accidents and there are almost no hospitals (or people like us taking a break after 12 hour bus journeys). Apart from a few caves in the surrounding mountains, there is barely anything to do. It took us a while to tear ourselves away from the fluffy duvets and power shower at the gem of a hotel that we found (and their kitchen, which has genuine parmesan, gasp) and go to see one of the only caves that hasn't been completely flooded by the recent torrential rain. Cue us having to bribe a fisherman into letting us in his boat to get to the cave, a group of tuk tuk drivers all shouting in Lao about the "huge falang" that were going to sink said boat (that would be us), an entire village (including miscellaneous babies, chickens, goats and a pig) coming to watch the spectacle, and Ryan wetting his trousers. Bearing in mind that even 5'4 Kat was a foot taller than this fisherman, and Ryan (80kg) weighs "the same as FOUR Lao people!" it seemed a cruel twist of fate that the racing river was bursting its banks and the only boat around was half submerged before we'd even gone near it. We eventually talked the poor man into taking us across, on the conditions that we go one at a time and bail like our lives depended on it (this wasn't a huge leap of the imagination). Ryan only got a little bit wet when he capsized the ailing vessel (but heroically saved the camera) and the fisherman even let us back in his boat to get home!


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