Mekong River Adventure Cruise - Trip Log August, 2007
Trip Log August 25, 2007
Somewhere on the Mekong River
Thailand, Chiang Saen:
I started early this morning. Immigration at the pier in Chiang Saen opens at 8:00 AM. The boat, The Mekong Princess, was to depart at 9:00 AM.   Last night when the water in the $6 guesthouse I originally checked into completely stopped trickling from the plumbing, I deserted the place. I finally ended up at...
Trip Log August 26, 2007
Somewhere on the Mekong River, 100 kilometers north of Chian Saen on the Laos shore:
Above is a photo of the 125 foot boat I sailed up river on.  German designed and built to 4 star hotel standards.  It is capable of 25 knots, but generally moves along at 15 knots.  It has a capacity of 30 passengers maximum.  Normal trip size is 20 passengers.  Jones Adventures is the first tour operator outside of Germany to utilize this ship to explore the upper Mekong River.

I heard the first rattle of the steel cable being pulled in around 5:30 or 6:00 AM. The crew was obviously trying to go about their work quietly because there was no laughter and no slamming of hatch covers or tools onto the metal decks. Around 7:30 the boat motor and generator started up. I jumped up and immediately shaved and showered. Breakfast was to be around 8:00 AM and I knew the power would go off while we ate. . . . .
Photo at the right is of our Chinese/English/German translator standing on the 3 level deck as we passed the Golden Triangle. The Golden Triangle is the point where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma) meet.  Laos is actually on the opposite (East) shore.
Trip Log August 27, 2007
Somewhere on the Mekong River, about 10 kilometers from the Laos/China border.

The breakfast bell rang hard several times, calling us all to the dining cabin. We were given customs and health declarations to fill out. Within minutes the immigration and customs officer climbed aboard and began an inspection of all cabins. One of the officers came over to us. . . .
The Golden Triangle to the left and on the right is the Pagoda Forest in Myanmar.  The ship never stopped on the Myanmar shore.  Too many problems we were told.
On the left is a view of some rocky rapids that the boat was navigating through.  This is not some sedate sleepy ocean cruise with nothing to see except water and waves.  Most of us were reluctant to go inside while the boat was moving because we didn't want to miss anything.  On the right a small nameless village sprawling up the side of a hill.
These two photos show our adventurous group leaving the boat to visit a small Laotian Akka village.  The rain was still coming down as we made our way carefully up the slippery path.
Photo to the left shows the village and the main trail through the village.  Mud was several inches thick.  Most of the children wore rubber rain boots.  On the right you see the pretty 15 year old Laotian village girl who led me to the school house.  In the background you can see a very old woman walking to her home.  As I walked by the old woman came over to the fence and talked to me.  I didn't understand a word, but she shook my hand anyway.
The old woman to the right is the same one as in the photo above.  Here she is walking over to talk to me.  The old lady on the left was following me as I walked through town.   So were the children who are just visible on the right side of that photo.  I felt like the pied piper of Laos!
These kids escaped from the schoolhouse to follow me all the way back to the boat. 
On the right is a carved wooden "God" that guards the entrance to the village.
There were about 50 children in this one room schoolhouse.  The teacher works without paper, pencils or chalkboards.  But the students were attentive, disicplined and very curious.  I took a photo of every child and showed them what they looked like.  That may have been the first time any of these kids ever saw their own photographs!
Mekong River Adventure Cruise
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