It's hot, hot, hot.... Just arrived back from my little jaunt down to the 4000 islands in south laos. It was quite an experience and definitely the slowest pace encountered since leaving home.......so update time!
I arrived here in Pakse after a fairly uneventful flight from Vientiane; one thing worthy of a mention though was the vibrations of the propelled plane I was on. I don't think Apple took this into consideration when designing the ipod - i don't think they ever imagine vibrations so intense that they could actually distort the sound of the music being played....everything (including my own voice) sounded like it was being spoken through a hole in my throat - you know those things some people have to use when they've had bad throat damage..... As long as the weather was fine and clear the planes were fine but I don't think you would ever catch me on one of them with the slightest chance of bad weather setting in!
Pakse itself is a funny little town. Sort of busy and deserted at the same time. People seem to spend a lot of time just sitting outside on the pavement and not actually in the businesses (or whatever the buildings are). It's very different to LP but still has a charm of sorts. I spent the day of arrival looking for a trek to book to go the Bolavean Plateau but didn't have much luck - there just didn't seem to be anyone around (tourists or locals). Was quite surreal. I eventually took myself to THE backpacker guesthouse in town to see if anything was happening there. While sitting outside having something to eat I met up with 2 cool couples I landed up going down to the islands with. Charlie and Col are English and have been travelling for about a year, and Natasha and Rok are Slovenian and very very tall! We were discussing our ideas and eventually decided to all head down to Don Det together the next morning.
And if some of you are asking why are wasn't staying at this place - Col's bedbug bites should be enough of an explanation!!
The 5 of us met up for some sunset drinks (sure you have an inkling as to what drink it was) before going out for an Italian dinner :-) A local restaurant specialises in both asian and italian cuisine....and I have to admit to having a fantastic spaghetti with bacon and chilli tomato sauce. Yum yum. I felt a bit guilty about it but I didn't think my one non-noodle or rice dinner was too much of a travelling faux pax!
We had been told that we should meet at Nazims indian restaurant at 8.30am for an 8.45am departure; we thought this worked out well with Charie and Col's requirement to get some money before heading out. We were comfortably at Nazims by 8am for breakfast but all "panic" set in at 8.20am when we saw a bus filling up and being loaded with backpacks - before our food had arrived. We enquired and found out it was our bus and was leaving at 8.30am! I didn't want to miss it so went and had my backpack loaded on counting on them not going without me....but if I hadn't decided to skip my food and jump on the bus that was exactly what would have happened! Charlie dashed off to get money but the passengers on the bus were getting a little antsy and wanted to leave...Col and I had her breakfast of curry roti wrapped up an hopped on, taking the last 2 real seats available. Poor Charlie, when she finally madeit back, was given a space near the door with a littl mini, kids plastic seat for the trip! Of course ever person was worth 7 dollars to them so it was very much a pack-em-in style trip. As it was only a 2 hour trip she made it without too much permanent back damage.
We arrived at a little "port" to take us to our home for the next 3 days....the island of Don Det!