Day 38: Happy Thanksgiving

After our night of boozing we decided to have a lye in until eleven thirty a.m., when we were woken up by Dominica knocking on the door. Much to Jenna’s horror she had overslept and missed the bus she paid for the day before. We all said it was for a reason as today was thanksgiving, and, seeing as our new roommates were American, we decided to go out to Joma’s (a restaurant on the corner a stones throw from our hostel), this was a place that sold a special thanksgiving breakfast sandwich. As British citizens, Sarah and I, had never celebrated this festive occasion before, but let me tell you, we should, as the food was lovely. During breakfast it was Dominica, Sarah, Brandon, Jenna and myself, to stick to tradition we took it in turns to say what we were thankful for. It goes without saying, we were thankful for the opportunity to be travelling, and also that we had met such a great bunch of people. During breakfast, there was a strange elderly American man, who took it upon himself to sit with a little boy, while his mum had gone to deal with her daughter. We were slightly cautious of his motives at first, but fortunately, his mother soon returned and made conversation with the peculiar gentleman.

After breakfast, Sarah, Dominica and myself, went looking for cheap tickets for the slow boat (a boat which takes several days to get to the border, via the Hanoi River). Brandon went back to the room to nap, and Jenna explored the local town. The three of us, made our way down the street, stopping in every travel store. The first one was asking for too much, so, with that we continued on our quest of getting the price down. The second store was more helpful, giving us information as well as another option of transport in the form of a coach. Their prices were still quite high, but reasonable, however, we left thinking we could do better. We went to one last shop closer to the river thinking it would be cheaper, we soon learned (thanks to an American girl stopping in and informing us) it would always be more money in the shops due to commission charges. Better informed, we headed to the docks where we discovered the slow boat would be the worst way to go. The reason for it being such a bad idea fell to several points, one, the boat seated forty five people, but, was always oversold. Two, each leg of the journey would be eight hours. Three, you had to bring your own food and drink. Four, there would be no shelter from the sun/ heat. With this new found knowledge we returned to the hostel to tell Brandon the good news. Here, we all mutually decided the best way to get to the border would be a twelve hour journey via coach. The deciding factor, it would be air conditioned and we’d stand a better chance of sleeping.

It was too hot outside to wander around aimlessly, so, the four of us took refuge in our fan assisted and air conditioned room. While we were there Brandon worked on his digital farm on his iPhone, Sarah multi tasked by reading her kindle, and occasionally annoyed me while I worked on my blog. Dominica didn’t stay for long before heading out to visit the local museum, it was about an hour after that when Jenna walked back in. Jenna had been the most productive of the group by visiting a few temples, one of which had puppies in. We stayed at our chill box until twenty past four as Sarah had agreed to meet Dominica at the foot of Phousi Mountain. This was a temple atop a very steep set of steps, and at the top had the best view Luang Parang had to offer. Not wanting to miss this and Sarah not wanting to go alone, Brandon and I joined her. The steps took their toll on me as having something of a bad diet, and recovering from a heavy night out I was sweating like a pig, and my heart was pounding. Regardless of all this, the view was totally worth the cardiovascular exercise we had to endure. We arrived within good time, as it wasn’t long after our arrival that fifty more people showed up behind us. Sarah and I were perched on a rock lie to photographer vultures awaiting the sunset behind the mountains. We had about an hour to wait before the crispy character went to bed, as everyday, the sun would set at half past five. Sarah took plenty of pictures, however, she was angry at a telegraph pole which ruined every single shot, Brandon wasn’t much happier, as the railing he placed his camera on was constantly shaking due to tourists leaning on it.

When the sun had set, Sarah and I, made our way back down and returned to our hostel. Here, we found Jenna, where, once again she made us feel lazy as she had been out for a run. It wasn’t long before Brandon and Dominica returned to join us. We decided to go for food, where I cheated on my wife once again (I guess the saying, “once a cheat, always a cheat,” is true), by seeing another woman for my chicken, ham, and bacon sandwich. This woman had so much more to offer, well, in terms of meat, after ordering we returned to the hostel to eat. Our friend Snaggle had joined in on our walk too and from the market. Outside the hostel, Brandon educated Sarah on shutter speeds of cameras, after her lesson she took photo after photo using a light to write words in the nights sky. After an hour, we stopped with the camera shenanigans, said goodnight to Snaggle and Dominica, then headed upstairs to our room. Here, Brandon and I invented our new sport known as toilet roll. The only rule of toilet roll, there are no rules. The aim of the game was to ensure it didn’t touch the floor, so long as it remained airborne that’s all that mattered. It’s a very serious game and if you’re not careful you could end up seriously injured. Forget rugby, toilet roll is a real man’s game. When we were done, we attempted to wind up Jenna on her choice of reading books, but, she had too good a sense of humour and just laughed it off. With that, Brandon got up, turned out the light, and we went to bed, swearing we’d all get up at five thirty a.m. to see the monks during alms.

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