Here is the current situation for the slow boat:
so before the ferry left they said that they would sell us accommodation at some town for the overnight stay. we declined but plenty of other people bought it. after they overcrowded the boat which is supposed to hold 80 people with 150+ people we had a long 6 hour journey. about an hour away from the overnight stay, we stopped the boat and were forced to get off. we were told that the water level was too low to continue. we were marched for 40 minutes down river to where they had setup a makeshift camp to sleep on the beach for the night. they sold food and beer at expensive prices, but we had to buy since it was the only food available. the people who had bought the accommodation were screwed out of their money. once it got dark, 3 or so groups of lao men would come up to our little group and just stand and look at us. finally when we asked what they wanted, they said they were on a walk and moved on. other groups would come up and offer us mushrooms or weed. so we slept on our backpacks and hoped for the best. plus it was freezing cold.
the next morning we woke up and got back onto the boat. it was an 11 hour ride but we finally made it to luang prubang.