Thursday, December 15, 2016

Lao Trip 15.1c - PL2

The southbound Pak Lai bus station changed locations; not sure why. But, I was glad to see my friend Lu the tuk-tuk (samlor) driver had easily made the transition. I told him I was going to PL2 and he set me up with one of his drivers. My guess is he’s trying to build a fleet, which is smart because there’s also a northbound bus station (of sorts). He can’t be in two places at once.

PL2 is my somewhat “secret spot.” It’s within the Pak Lai zone of influence, but is its own thing and, in fact, unique. I haven’t run across another place quite like it in Lao or anywhere. I am fortunate that I found it with a little bit of research and reasoning early in my retirement in Thailand. With only around ten trips to PL2 to date, I already have a bunch of neat stories of what’s happened to me there. Significantly, I’ve also established friendships and am remembered by some.

After checking into my favored guest house and getting my favorite room (sunny room, Mekong river side), I did some laundry, showered and headed straight for Koun Ten. This floating restaurant/bar/karaoke spot has been the scene of some of my best times in the past five years.

I arrived shortly before the light faded and stayed through sundown. There was only one or two other tables occupied. The owner remembered me and I believe her husband had hailed me from his moving motosai while I had been en route. It had been two years since I had seen them both or even stepped foot on the floater. This is because, back in early 2015, the barge had been hit by a local tornado and most of the roof torn away. It had taken them a while to rebuild. When they reopened, they had a grand party (I had missed that) and renamed the restaurant to Vardsanar (koungtent).

Nothing much happened while I drank my two bottles of Beer Lao with ice. I shot some nice pictures and video and had fun remembering all the times I’d been here before and what had happened.

Afterwards, on the walk back to the guest house, I stopped in at Heuan Phair. Nobody was around except for the gay guy. I’ve often wondered how this family stays in business. The owner’s daughter was in and out. I had visited here a year ago, but this time I almost didn’t recognize her. She’s growing up fast!

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