Most villages were hidden from the river, their presence revealed only by a boat or two on the banks, fenced up vegetable plots, &/or villagers bathing & kids playing in the river. For some a break in the vegetation was the only indication of a path leading from the river up to the village proper. The cat didn't take photos of most of the villages as each time the boat stopped, passengers would rush off the boat & onto the banks to relieve themselves, leaving behind dark patches on the sand. There were hardly any bushes to hide behind, & most simply turned to face away from the boat, mooning those who stayed on board.
Somewhere after this the engine died twice more. Mr Boatboy managed to revive it once with a lot of hammering, but after the second time, nam maan moht laew (lit. fuel finish already), & we drifted along with an empty fuel tank & empty jerrycan that no amount of hammering can ever fill. Mr Boatboy did his best with a bamboo pole to prevent us from being drawn into the turbulent sections & crashing into rocks, but still the boat ended up spinning from side to side, at one point almost a full 180 degrees. Can't imagine the situation if we were headed upriver instead of downriver...For once the normally placid Lao started to appear agitated...Drift, drift, drift your boat/Haphazardly down the stream/Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily/How long more of this before I scream =P
There was a hell lot of shouting when the locals caught sight of a passing boat, & Mr Boatboy readied himself for more fuel aftertaste. Stacks of kip & some litres of fuel were exchanged. A lot of spitting & many rinses of Mr Boatboy's mouth later, the engine came to life & we were chugging on our way to Muang Khua again.