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December 24, 2006… from here on in I type without a script

The slow boat trip up the Mekong from Luang Prabang to Huay Xai (theoretically via Pakbeng) is hard to capture in words or images. The brown (yet glistening) river, the magnificent mountains and rock formations (on the shore and mid-river), the dazzling sky above the mystery village where we had to put in for the night, the generosity of the villagers who put us up and the jolt of their Lao coffee in the morning, the hard wooden benches and the columns of sunlight breaking through the green-hued forests and jungles onto white sand beaches with colorful markets, the terraces next to those beaches, the bitter cold mornings and seeing my breath in the tropics, the hot soup, the wads of torn-up kip notes that changed hands… yeah, pretty hard to pin down.

Merry Christmas. Peace on Earth.

(and now cutting away from paper and into the present:)

I made it across to Chiang Kong from Huay Xai this Christmas morning, passing Thai immigration (my last major hurdle of the trip, I hope) easily. I bought first-class bus tickets (because that’s how I roll on the glorious sealed roads of Thailand) for this evening, so I’m taking care of errands here for the day. There’s some sort of race in town; I might try to catch it.

My hour of furious typing is ending, so it’s time to hit the town for a bit under six hours.

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