Up at 07:30 and had a quick coffee or two and purchased an overpriced and underfilled sandwich from the waiters come drug dealers at Bounmy Guesthouse. Strolled down to the slowbaoat pier in Pakbeng. Bought a ticket tp Houay Xai (85,000 kip). I ws directed to a much smaller boat than the day before.
Now the yanks were getting twitchy. The planned to get to Chiang mai in Thailand that day. i kept my mouth firmly closed. When asked El Capitane said he did not know when we would arrive at Houay Xai, maybe four or five. I had heard before that the slowboats deliberately dilly dally so everyone misses the border closing at 18:00. I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Everything went fine until about three thirty when the crew decided to stop at every village on the banks of the Mekong for a Beer Lao or two
By 17:00 tempers were becoming frayed and he finally admitted that due to the currents we wouldnt make Hoay Xai until 18:30. However he could drop anyone who wanted to make the crossing off at the speed boat pier and then they could get a tuk tuk at a cost of 5,000 kip each which would get them to lao's immigration in time. The Tuk tuks packed with irrate Americans reached the border at 18:05 - it was shut.
It didn't bother me but this is an obvious ply that fills up guest houses in Houay Xai and andds to the governments coffers in visa overstay charges.
We were not bothered anyhow but its worth knowing if you time poor and have no days left on your visa. They do the trip every day and could easily start at 08:00 or 07:30 and be in plenty of time. The trip took about 10hours