Today we headed north for a two-day stay in Nong Khiaw, via a 6-hour boat ride on the scenic, blue Nam Ou river.
Our hosts in Nong Khiaw arranged the ride for us; this morning, they sent their friend to walk us from our hotel to the dock. A “gourmet homemade lunch” was to be included with the ride, and our escort handed us 3 plastic bags as we boarded the small boat.
In one bag was a pair of sandwiches (baguette sandwiches are a popular street food in Luang Prabang). In the second bag, two containers of fried rice. In the third, a pastry box from “Joma,” the local fancy coffee shop and bakery (think Starbucks).
We thought, “This lunch sure is eclectic. But gourmet and homemade, it ain’t.” Disappointed but hungry, we dug in. First the sandwiches, then the fried rice. (Actually, the food wasn’t all that bad; we’d just expected (and paid for) more.)
Finally, we peered into the pastry box. Four large muffins. “Wow, how much do they think we eat?” we thought. But Americans do (justly) have a reputation for overeating, so we didn’t think much of it.
I had a taste of muffin, and while I didn’t really care for the muffin body, the chocolate chips on top satisfied the one craving I’ve been having on this trip–cocoa. Sara didn’t want any, so muffin by helpless muffin, I scraped the chips off the top and shoved them into my mouth. When the “Muffin Massacre of the Nam Ou” (as they call it locally) was over, we left the decapitated muffin stumps in the box, closed it up, and put it back into the plastic bag for disposal when we reached Nong Khiaw.
We arrived, were greeted, and had a lovely and very memorable stay with our hosts, Marko and Chan. But more on that in our travelogue, after we get home. The salient point here is that, when we arrived, all of our bags (including the plastic bags) were carried off the boat for us. Our luggage turned up in our bungalow; the plastic bags (quite expectedly) did not.
At dinner this evening, Marko and Chan were talking about their favorite Luang Prabang eateries. Then they mentioned Joma–home of their “favorite chocolate muffins.” They told us how whenever they can, they have their friend send them a box of those muffins from Luang Prabang. (Oops.)