From Pak Beng, in the morning we headed up north to the border town of Houay Xai. After the whole day before spent on the slow boat we decided to try the fast boats. Though a little more dangerous that is not where the concern came in from. Lonely Planet has listed the fast boats as extremely dangerous, and if Lonely Planet guidebooks mention something then it must be true (sarcasm). Local Lao people regularly use the fast boats but tourists are scared to because of the rumors, and also because it is essentially a glorified canoe with a car engine tied to the back. That said, the ride was AWESOME and pretty safe though you're supposed to wear a helmet and lifejacket of which I wore neither. And in case you didn't figure it out, we didn't die.
before we left I found some grilled frog and thought I'd give it a try. this one was pretty tasty. stuffed with lemongrass, garlic and chili and then roasted to a near jerky state. I dug it, though shortly after I realized that eating strange food may not be the best idea before going into fast possibly unsafe transportation methods.
we stopped at a fuel stop and got some beers. sunny day on the mekong drinking beer in somewaht unsafe vessels. :)
and a small video of part of the ride.