Today was a day of ups and downs. I was really sorry to leave Champasak this morning, particularly as the day started off with such a beautiful tableau of monks receiving alms from the villagers. I especially liked that the dogs were there first, waiting for the monks to appear. Right outside my window!
I got a minivan at 8:45 which took me directly to the Hotel Pakse in Pakse.
It was a pleasure just walking into the hotel, graced with a spacious and stylish Art Deco Lobby.
I was also pleased with my room with a view.
Finding something interesting to do in Pakse however, turned out to be a challenge.
Since the hotel was next to the river, I headed down there first thinking that there would be a walk or something to see but no luck. There was nothing there.
Buy now of course it was getting hot so I decided to take a tuk-tuk to go to the Don Huang Market.
Compared to busy town such as Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, Pakse is relatively quiet. It was an important port town during the French Colonial period And there are a number of crumbling colonial buildings and wide boulevards. Even the newer buildings are often built in French colonial style.
The market was a vast place but I got there too late to catch all of the morning activity. Still there was enough to keep me busy for an hour or so.
I was a little disappointed with the shopping. I thought there would be more to buy but in fact the colorful skirts that Laotian women wear are quite expensive when they are made with good raw silk.
In fact Laotian women dress with a remarkable uniformity of style. Pretty much the same style skirt is everywhere.
This usually means that they are clinging to Traditional Values as well. Cambodian women were typically dressed in a more modern way with mini skirts and shorts Etc.
After the market I walked back along the river which fortunately is in the process of being redeveloped to include a Promenade. If ever a town needed a Promenade this is the one. It was really a shame that it was just dirt and road next to such a beautiful River.
One is not overburdened with things to do in this town. I reflected on whether I should accept the hotels idea that I should hire it tuk-tuk and go to the Bolaven plateau tomorrow. The problem was that it was quite a distance and the trip would necessarily be rushed one because I had to be at the airport at 3 p.m. for my flight to Luang Prabang. I was just not feeling it. So I decided against it.
The best part of the day was the rooftop restaurant cafe in this hotel. It was really an extraordinary view over town and they have a happy hour that offered two drinks for the price of one between five and six pm. Great!
Watching the sunset from the rooftop Terrace is really one of the high points of staying in Pakse and certainly at this hotel.
The other high point of the day was the wonderful meal they served in the hotel rooftop restaurant. I had a Thai spicy chicken dish that had fresh green peppercorns which I’ve never tasted before. Basically it looks like a black fusilli on the plate and then you bite into it and it’s crispy like a nut and then it explodes with green peppercorn flavor. Wow!
I have to say that I was extraordinarily pleased with the service level of the hotel. There was a lot of staff and they couldn’t be friendlier or more helpful. The breakfast was also terrific. It was a breakfast buffet.