Oudamxay, Laos

 
We woke up in Muang Khua to a rainy day again. I think we got pretty lucky with the weather as it rained a lot, but only while we were sleeping so it didn't matter that much. Made the trails muddier for hiking, but whatever. We were awoken at 6am when loud music plays through town. It is like an alarm clock for the town. We were getting up around then anyway, but man that would be annoying if you wanted to sleep in. Above is looking towards the boat dock from the patio at our hotel. 

 
And looking farther up the road

 
There were a lot of houses with lots of color. If you enlarge the photo you can see the blue/red pattern better. Lots of pinks and purples around town as well. 

 
Eating breakfast (fried rice) and watching people walking in the rain


 
After breakfast we headed out to the bus station to head to Oudamxay. This was the first time riding on an actual bus! Sure it was a bit run down, the seats a bit rickety, but it was fine. The windows opened so it could be quite cool while driving. Man they really pack the people in. I counted 17 actual seats on the bus and there were at least 25 people. There was a padded area in the front between the driver and passenger seat where 4 people sat. 

 
The bus station - still cloudy, but not raining. 

 
On the bus there was a guy who got on sitting next to me with a bag of live small crabs. They started escaping at one point and he thought he got all of them, but one snuck away. He would pop out once and a while and then I saw him climb out in Oudamxay....not that there was anywhere for him to go...

We did get stopped at a checkpoint and some police came on and looked at the bags in the back. That was the first time we stopped at one of those. It only took a second and then we were back on our way. We also stopped for a bathroom break at one point, just on the side of the road, and the side door came off its tracks so we were stuck until the driver could fix it. Fun times in Laos! Oh, and the driver had awesome taste in music. Most of the time we had to listen to music I was not the biggest fan of (once the guy had a cd playing and he only listened to like 3 songs and kept skipping the rest...), but this was upbeat dancey music that I would normally listen to, but the lyrics were in Lao I believe. So it was a good trip. 

 
The bus left Muang Khua at 8:30 and I thought it was a 4 hour bus ride, so of course we planned for longer. I was really surprised when we got to Oudamxay at 11:30! Only 3 hours later! So that was pretty awesome. I was expecting Oudamxay to be a small, not really anything there town. The guidebook didn't have much to say about it, everything I could find was just like there isn't much there and people don't really stay there. We were discussing staying the night or continuing on to our next stop, but when we got there it was like a city. Looked like plenty to explore for the afternoon so we decided to stay. It wasn't the biggest city, it was easy to walk everywhere, but enough to do for one day. 

 
The German lady was staying overnight as well so we all got a hotel together and then went off to explore! There are two hills in town, one on either side of the main road, so we went up the one to check out Wat Phu That and the big golden Buddha statue which was really nice. 







 
Not sure what this horse sign is...

 
But a view over the city from the hill





 
As you can see in some of the photos there are lots of dark clouds, and some look like just a sunny day. It was really sunny so it was interesting with all the clouds moving through. 








 
And back down to the main road. Pup was on his way up.





 
Once we got back down we realized it was time for lunch! It was already 1pm and I was getting grumpy from lack of food. We pulled out the guidebook and it recommended Souphailins which was really tasty. It had a shaded porch with tons of plants so it was almost like you weren't in a busy city. The lady running it was super friendly, talked to us while she was cooking and kept giving us treats. The tofu laab (above) I know might not look the best, but it was really delicious. Light and refreshing. We ended up sitting on the patio for a while just chatting and reading the guestbooks the lady had. 


 

Then off for more exploring. We went by the indoor market which I really enjoyed. Lots of bright color yarns and threads, fabrics and I even found another notebook! I took a small one with me to write about our days (which is what I use when I post these so I don't forget things), but I was running out of pages and it was hard to find another one. I had been looking for a bit, but there just weren't shops like that in the small towns we were in. So hooray for that. 

We also went and explored the Chinese Supermarket! Now I thought it was just going to be a market, but it would be a "super" one, not like a grocery store. We went to where it was and there were all kinds of clothing stands and such, but Raymond was just like where is it?? Well it was an actual supermarket! I love exploring the food options in different places so it was perfect! I wandered and spied on all the Chinese treats to be had, we picked up a few things, but all the packaging was just in various asian languages so some of it we couldn't get as we couldn't figure out if it was vegan or not. Raymond could read a lot of it, as there were Japanese translations, but he couldn't remember what the Japanese words meant so...it was still fun. Raymond did start trying to get me to hurry up, but I was just like dude what did you expect when you took me here? I am looking at everything!! And yes I take forever, but I need to look at everything! But we were all stocked up for treats for a bit then. Oh and we got a 500Kip bill back in change...up until this point I didn't even realize that was a possibility as everything was at least 1,000Kip so when the lady said how much it was I was really confused. Good thing Raymond always deals with the money. That was the only place we ever saw something that wasn't a multiple of 1,000. Odd.

 
After the supermarket it was back to the room for a bit of a break. Just before sunset we headed up the other hill to spy. 

 
There was a museum up there, but no one around. And lots of crazy storm clouds in the mountains. We wandered around a bit, watching the storm get closer and closer







\
 


Until we said maybe we should head back...the storm was just about on us. We headed down the hill and it started pouring just as we got to the hotel.  

Then we sat out on the balcony for a bit with the German lady and watched the rain and listened to the monks chanting which was broadcast over the town for 15-20 minutes. 

Then off for some dinner at Mrs. Kanya's, which the guidebook said was the locals favorite. Man this was tasty. Best noodles of the trip! Oh I was so full by the time we were done dinner, but I could have somehow eaten more they were that good. So that was our adventures in Oudamxay. Not a huge town, not tons to do, but I really enjoyed our exploring and the food. The next morning we parted ways with the German lady and headed on to Luang Namtha. 

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