I'm writing to you from Ubon Ratchatani in Thailand - just spent the past 5 hours travelling from Laos on about 15 different modes of transport in 38C and now biding our time in an aircon internet cafe waiting for our overnight train to Bangkok. Good time to update you on my last 4 days .....
After leaving Don Det, sharon and I arrived back in Pakse feeling rather under the weather. The infamous tummy bugs had finally caught both of us and made for a rather weary trip back from the islands. We had a bit of a hard time finding a place to stay as it was the annual Champasak Festival but I finally got lucky and got a room at a hotel as someone cancelled! We were rather relieved as aircon, a bathroom and comfy bed were definitely being called for! We checked in and didn't leave our rooms again until the next morning - we even had room service (rice delivered) as had no energy or inclination to eat. I was asleep by 9.30pm (and have been everynight since) - party animal kim at play again!!
After a good night sleep and a couple of immodiums we left Pakse for a few days at Tad Fane - the highest waterfall in Laos. It was such a relaxing time and for the first time since I left England I was completely out of touch with the real world - no phone, internet or even bush messenger! The area is so beautiful and our cabin was on the edge of a 100m high cliff overlooking the waterfalls on the otherside of the gorge. As we'd not been well, we managed to pass a full day of doing nothing but staring at the scenery and reading. The weather was lovely and cool - down to 25C so was very pleasant to sit outside in. That night we bumped into a couple I'd seen on Don Det - Barney and Cheryl - and the 4 of us planned a trek for the next day.
The trek day was fantastic; climbing up and down cliffs through the jungle, sitting at the top of 120m high waterfalls, swimming in the pool at base of other waterfalls and meandering through miles and miles of coffee plantations on the Bolavean plateau. It was a damned hot day - hit 40C at one point - but was such a great experience. The 4 of us had a great laugh and arrived back at the lodge exceptionally weary but exhilirated at the same time. I must admit that my legs were aching, none of us had really anticipated the physical endeavour we'd had to put in - all in all about 20km was covered - but worth the pain definitely. My pics (when I get to put them up) will hopefully give more of a description as to how beautiful it was.
We spent 3 nights in Tad Fane and unwillingly left this morning....very sad to be leaving Laos. The country is so innocently beautiful and so far un-ravaged by the modern world. But sadly I don't think it's going to last. I really did deliberate hard about coming here but know now that I could not have chosen a more amazing place to have spent my first month away.......just wish we could keep this country "our" little secret!!