Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lao Trip 9.2a - Goodbye, Seng Chalerm

Yes, it’s a bit sad to see the Seng Chalerm guesthouse – only five years ago, the best guesthouse in Pak Lai – go down. Whether due to family changes or changes of fortune, the place is just getting run down. It used to be that I’d have a few hangers in the closet, now I was lucky to find one. The coffee pot quit working sometime last year and, as I mentioned yesterday, the one useable electric outlet is now non-functional. Like writing on the wall, the electric hot water shower has been getting colder and colder each trip.

I’m loyal and always honored to get the best room in the house, but sometimes – you have to make changes and adjustments to maintain your standards. Subsequently, I switched over to the Sayadeth, after paying for my night’s stay at Seng Chalerm. I took some parting shots of #B15 with some regrets. I have some good memories, here; especially of friends I’ve met during my stays here, like Ay, Savang, Savat, Nout, Khampou, Pom and Nuey.

After emptying it, I took my backpack to the guy that has a sewing shack right on the river road, in front of his house; within sight of Say Khong restaurant that looked to be closed this season.

I walked to the BCL in Pak Lai and withdrew kip from the ATM. After taking some photos of the town’s fairgrounds, a somewhat attractive, small Lao woman who could speak pretty good English struck up a conversation with me. I would have pursued it, but I noticed the make-up and the jewelry and I figured she was either “out of my league” or I out of hers.

While I was waiting for my backpack to be repaired, I went to the port and took some pictures there, feeling very much the tourist at this point.

 I had a Beer Lao at the small eatery on the Pak Lai side of the port ramp. They’re back in business and cleaned up; a great location, actually. While admiring the Mekong, the pristine views on the opposite banks, and the activities and non-activities at the port, I took note of a new floating restaurant, close-by. It looked pretty big.

I picked-up my repaired backback. The guy had done a pretty good job repairing and also reinforcing some stress points. His price was reasonable; about $3 USD. On the down side, that’s about a third of what the pack cost, originally. Oh well, I thanked him and returned to the Seyadeth, where I did laundry, showered and changed clothes in preparation for the second part of the day…


Christian Layow said...

A $3 repair job to make a $9 backpack last longer sounds like a pretty good deal to me. A $9 backpack is unheard of around here.

It's funny how a place is fine to stay at until one day it tips over to not fine. Like there is a straw that broke the camels back when it comes to accommodations.

Malcolm Gault-Williams said...

The backpack is cheaply made; nothing like you get in The States, but, yeah, I'll get my baht's worth out of it before I'm through. Last backpack lasted about 2.5 years, without a repair (not that it did not need a bunch!).

You can see by the photos that the Seng Chalerm rooms are still very nice and outside those windows are great views of The Khong; plus there's a small balcony you can sit out on, just outside.

A perceived improvement in service and free WIFI are what spurred me to make the change, but it turned out I couldn't receive the wireless in my room. anyway!

It was the service, though, in the long run that was the deciding factor and why I will probably favor Seyadeth over Seng Chalerm next time I'm there.

Tee Emm said...

I made a comment about the ' fussiness ' of the pages and how it takes too much work to follow simply the Love Shack construction .
But as I chill out and read about the tangential stuff .... the Lao hotel deteriorating , Nuey , et cetera it becomes a fine tale.

Malcolm Gault-Williams said...

Thank You, Tee Emm... The Seng Chalerm has actually made a come back. I've written about it at:

Malcolm Gault-Williams said...

I thought a little more about your comment, Tee Emm. If you'd like to follow a single subject, there are two ways of doing that. The easiest way is to enter your keywords into "Search This Blog", located right under "Featured Post" in the sidebar. For subjects that have many posts, the best way to go thru them is using the "Blog Archive" located further down in the sidebar. Here's the link to the first post about our farm house construction. All subsequent farm house postings are numbered sequentially: