May 15, 2000

City: Mengla to Boten

Highlight: random border scene

Favorite Food: buns bought on the bus


Location Item Local US$
English teacher rickshaw guyride to bus station, advice50.60
local busone-way to Mohan,border101.20
border exchange girllost some money on poor rate to Kip1?
shadey blue carrier truckshort ride to Laos immigration2?
random quicki martcanned coffee3000Kip?
bigger blue truckride into Luang Namtha7000Kip?
China Total$22 a day for ten days1484.50Y178.85

Wandering Around Town
It is always debatable about how much you need a guidebook. Some people rely on them too much and end up getting more confused from the rudimentary maps and simple phrase translations. However, when I walked out of the hotel this morning, I realized that I didn't know which way the bus station was and I didn't have any info, having given away my LP pages to the Japanese chap the night before. I had asked the girl at the front desk at check-in, but she pointed in the opposite direction of my intuition. To make matters more confusing, the bus dropped me off somewhere other than the bus stop last night forcing me to wander down the street in the dark. Anyway, I got one woman to write down the proper script for my destination, and I found a rickshaw guy to take me to the station

Transport Wanders
Because I eventually gave in to a rickshaw guy who could speak some English, I was at his whim for price negotiations. It is a bit of a pain to take transport that doesn't have a set price or meter. I ended up paying almost as much for my two minute rickshaw ride to the station as I did for the two hour bus ride to the border. Anyway, I was just able to catch the 8:20 bus for Mohan, so I was happy to be on my way

Thru to the Border
Honestly, I slept mostly through the morning, and again lost the few photos that I did take. I remember only miles and miles of rubber plantations and not much in between. The story was that the border crossing into Laos only operates in the morning, so I started to get a little nervous as the hours crept by. However, with no dramatic effect, the road suddenly widened a bit, the bus slowed up, and there we were a couple buildings around, including a bank. Boten. I changed some money with a random teenage girl who operates a fruitstand/exchange counter on a card table about 100m from the Chinese border with Laos. Then I shared a blue truck with a couple British blokes heading for Laos.

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