05-Mar-2009 -- We set out for this confluence from Vientiane in the morning. On the
way there, we stopped at the Freedom Bridge, which connects Thailand
and Laos across the Mekong River. It just so happened that this was
the first day that the new train was running across the bridge, and we
arrived in time to see a train with some very happy Thai passengers
pull into the station on the Lao side. They got out of the train,
took a few pictures of the brand, spanking new station, and reembarked
the train back to Thailand within about 30 minutes.
Then after another stop at the Buddha park, it was off to the
confluence, on a dusty road parallel to the Mekong. Seven years after
the first visit, the road is still not paved all the way, and in the
dry season it is very dusty.
As the previous visitors mentioned, the confluence is located in a
rice field a short distance from the road. We encountered a few local
people in the paddy as we trudged to the confluence. They seemed a
bit perplexed and amused by our presence, but not terribly bothered
about our being there. I just wonder how farmers in my own country
(United States) would react in a similar situation. We also
did not want to trample the rice, so we got as
close as possible to the exact confluence without doing so (on a path between rice plantings).
The reading on my iPhone's GPS was
I hope this is taken into consideration when determining if our visit
was successful or not.
After the visit it was time to make our way back to Vientiane along
the now darkening road amid the cows, dogs, people, tuk-tuk's, trucks,
and cars, which all share it. It was indeed rush hour, with people
walking their cows home from the fields. We arrived in Vientiane at
our hotel hot, sweaty, and covered in dust, but very glad we took the
time to make the visit.