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Saturday 3 May 2003
Luang Prabang, Laos

Not in Vang Vieng?

No your eyes are not deceiving you... thats right Im in Luang Prabang not Vang Vieng as originally planned. My reason for this sudden change? The realisation that I have only 4 days left on my visa and, as much as getting drunk on floating inner tubes sounds fun, I wanted to see Luang Prabang and possibly Luang Nam Tha that little bit more... alas if I overstay my visa I will have to pay 5 dollars for every day (not 5 dollars and 1 for each day as most people think).. ouch

I arrived today after getting an 8 hour bus journey from Vientiane on quite possibly the curviest road I have ever been on through the Northern Laos mountain range... of course Muggins here decides to sit on the back seat again. Bad Idea! With every sharp corner I hung on perilously to my chair... thankfully the seats were properly bolted to the bus floor THIS time (unlike when I came from Hanoi to Savanakhet). The driver also seemed to have a death-wish. He literally sped up around corners where there was 1 metre dividing us between the coach wheels and a 500 ft drop.

Thankfully we didnt get approached by Hmong guerrillas today (although I *DID* see two boys dressed in military uniforms herding sheep with AK47s slung around their backs.... obviously we passed them as they were too busy to notice us... phew!).. FYI Hmong guerrillas have attacked 2 buses in the past 2 months on the route I took today, killing everybody on board. The risks we crazy falang take to see famous temples eh? Piba falang!

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