4/29/18: Rats In Our Bungalow (Muang Ngoi, Laos)

I decided to go for a run when I woke up. I hadn’t planned on running this morning, especially since I drank quite a bit the night before, but I felt good and wanted to do it.

It was really hilly and challenging, which makes sense since Nong Khiaw is a mountain town.

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Many hills

At one point I saw a motorbike coming towards me with what looked like a big back on the back. However, as I looked closer I realized it was a pig.

It was a big, dead pig on the back of a motorbike.

I was so upset.

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Huge pile of trash I saw
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Goats on the road

I got back around 9:30, showered, had some fruit and muesli with soy milk, and then packed up. Adrian and I would be leaving by boat to Muang Ngoi, a town 17 km away, today.

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Breakfast

We walked about 15 minutes to the dock, and about 5 minutes later our boat arrived. With our luggage piled very precariously in the front of the boat, we all crawled into the back.

We all sat very uncomfortably in the tiny boat for the next 30 minutes as we waited for our boatman to be ready. He kept coming down the stairs from the ticket office to the boat, talking with someone about something, then going back up the stairs to do something else. He did this about 5 times.

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Waiting to leave

I again took this time to be intensely present: it’s this new thing I’m doing whenever I have to wait for something. Instead of focusing on the waiting, I take the opportunity to do a body scan, think about how my body is feeling, and then stay focused on the present moment for as long as possible. It really helps me stay calm and be more accepting, instead of frustrated and impatient.

We finally got going around 11:15, and were in Muang Ngoi an hour later.

I wanted to check out Riverview Bungalows because a friend of mine had recommended it to me. I didn’t quite know where it was, but luckily the owner was waiting at the dock to try to recruit people to stay at his place, so I just followed him.

The owner’s name was Gabriel. He came here 8 years ago where he met his wife, a Lao woman. They now have 3 kids and own a restaurant and guest house in Muang Ngoi. It must have been such a hard decision for him to decide to settle down here since it’s so different from his life in Sweden, but it’s pretty cool that he did.

We got settled in our bungalow and then went to get food. We walked down the street to Gabriel’s restaurant— I got suzy, which is a type of Lao curry. It was pretty good, but I don’t really know how it’s different from normal coconut curry.

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We wanted to check out Phanoi, the viewpoint recommended to us by Gabriel, but then found that it was closed. We walked 15 minutes to another viewpoint called Pha Boom to see if we could do that one instead.

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Pineapple farm!! I will never get used to the fact that pineapples grow like this

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A group of 3 were coming down the mountain just as we were approaching the entrance. They told us the hike takes 3 hours total, and is a really hard climb. It was already 3:30, and we didn’t want to be climbing in darkness since the sun sets at 6:15, so Adrian and I decided to just do the hike the next morning instead.

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Near Pha Boom

We walked back, 0 for 2, and chilled in our hammocks instead. I worked on my blog while Adrian watched music videos— apparently German people still do this.

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Gorgeous sunset from our bungalow

We went to get dinner at 7. We walked to Gecko, a cute little restaurant near our bungalows. I ordered fried noodles with veg, a very basic Southeast Asian meal, but one that I hadn’t had in a while. Adrian ordered vegetable curry, the first vegan meal that I’ve seen him eat. I was pretty proud of him for not eating meat for once.

We went back to our bungalows to watch a movie on Netflix— we chose Taxi Driver since both of us had yet to see it, and it’s a classic that we should probably watch.

As we were watching it, we heard the sounds of rats crawling around. They sounded like they were in our room, so we freaked out and kind of huddle in our bed until the sound stopped. We went back to watching the movie, until the squeaks and scuttles happened again 30 minutes later. We freaked out again, and then continued on. When it happened a third time, Adrian decided to look under the bed to see if anything was there. He didn’t see anything, so we carried on.

When it happened a fourth time, we deliberated on what to do. Sleep in the bed with rats around, ones that could potentially bite us, or sleep outside in our hammocks. I sort of wanted to just sleep in the bed with the mosquito net around, but Adrian didn’t want to since the sound of the rats freaked him out. In the end, we took our blanket and pillows outside and tried to sleep in the hammocks. After about an hour of discomfort and the lightest sleep ever, I decided to just sleep on the floor of our balcony. Adrian joined me and we slept on the floor for the rest of the night, getting periodically woken up by sounds of mosquitos, flies, roosters, dogs, and geckos all throughout.


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