Where's Jolly? travel blog

Freezing on the Mekong

Today in the very cold wind and heavy rain we pick up our boat which will take us down the Mekong River for the next few days. We had worried about it being far too hot as the temperature is meant to be in the 30’s and 40’s. No such luck as we move about the boat we can see the steam from our breath in the cold air. The boat is long and thin but fairly large and capable of carrying 30 passengers. Normally the sides are open and you can watch the brilliant view on either side of the river however in the cold temperature and with torrential rain (which does not let up for 3 days and nights) blue canvas covers have been secured to the sides of the boat and we struggle to see the view of the river banks. The river is fast flowing and full of large rocks just below the surface and the boat driver weaves around them constantly whilst fighting the strong current of the river. Everyone on board has packed for hot weather and no one is even wearing socks. We all huddle in our seats and put on every item of clothing we can find. The crew find us a few blankets to share and feed us coffee, lunch, and whisky to keep us warm. Stunning scenery is missed as we huddle in draft free nooks to stay warm. 8 hours later we stop for the night only to start the same freezing ordeal the next day. Cold showers in our hotel at Pak Ben village (that looks like something out of the Wild West) mean we are also only slightly washed and wearing almost every item of clothing we own in an attempt to keep warm on day two of the trip down the river. We stop at the Pak Ouv before finishing our trip down the river at Luang Prabang - the weather still wet and very cold. Like Delhi we had not expected it to be cold. In the evening we go out for a meal although the weather remains completely like a wet weekend in Blackpool.

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