In the Company of Two Rivers

LUANG PRABANG, Laos — “To the city center,” I say to the tuktuk driver. The bus from Vang Vieng arrived in Luang Prabang much later than scheduled and I did not anticipate reaching the city at this time. It’s already evening, and my awkward social qualities made sure I didn’t make any friends during the 7-hour trip. So here I am in another foreign city, alone, and wandering in the dark.

“Where exactly?” the driver wants an answer fast. My brows meet as I start to rummage through my head for any place that I could go to. I have not even booked a hostel yet. Sure, I had read about the city before, but for some reason, my tired mind is failing me. Perhaps it’s the hunger. Perhaps it’s the exhaustion. The other passengers begin taking their seats inside the tuktuk and I need to say something.

“By the Mekong River,” I answer without thinking. It’s the only place that came to mind.

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