Keosouphone Guesthouse, whose owner seemed more than relieved that the cat spoke Chinese:
He was fast asleep at the reception & the cat had to wake him up. Throughout this trip the cat would have to wake many people up - bus station staff, drivers, guesthouse staff, ticket office staff, locals using its sleeping bag & backpack as a pillow, cooks, fellow backpackers, etc.
Keosouphone is one of the guesthouses nearest to the bus station & market, 30,000 kip (approx USD3) for a clean double with hot shower. Cha Rueh Sin Guesthouse next door is owned by the same Chinese family from Hunan. The hot shower worked, despite a previous guest's opinion:
One thing about accommodation in places near the Chinese border (i.e. frequented by PRC truck drivers & businessmen) is the use of them for activities that warrant the need for such anti-lohk4 et3 (AIDS) posters:
After the Huay Xai-Luang Namtha journey in a bus with all windows shut tight:
In case the cat ever loses them, a photo as proof that they existed:
1000 kip (less than SGD0.17) note (below left) showing a Hmong, a Lao Loum (lowland Lao) & a lady from another (anyone knows?) ethnic group - reminder that the cat had crossed the border into a country where hilltribe people don't have to fight for their citizenship:
'Home-made' currency conversion table (above right) for multi-currency transactions involving USD, THB, LAK & SGD...in this country you can pay in a mixture of 2 currencies & get change in a third.
Mr Sichuan's namecard:
How is the cat ever going to decipher Lao script?! *throws paws in air*
Tired cat wandered down the street & ended up eating Thai food (kai phat met mamuang himmaphan - chicken fried with cashew nuts), paying in Thai baht, speaking in broken Thai & watching some Thai documentary on marsupials with the owners of Panda restaurant, the only food place that seemed to be open in the (almost) pitch black darkness of the province capital at night. Perhaps the next time the cat returns to Luang Namtha, this place would have been renamed Koala restaurant, given the owners' fascination with the grumpy tree huggers on their TV screen =P
Post-dinner exploration of town - only significant lighting was from wooden huts that housed billard tables & practically every teenage boy in Luang Namtha:
& a little clinic:
It was so dark, the cat didn't realise that it was on a side street parallel to the main road where the rest of the guesthouses, restaurants, net cafes & noise were, but the stars in the moon-less skies above were simply brilliant =)
end of day 2 (181206):
noodle soup/pho/feu/khaaw soi eaten to date = 01 bowl