Being stuck between four walls with food poisoning may have slightly tainted my view of Laos but so far, a dodgy meal’s not the only thing that’s cast a grey cloud over my time in the country.
Watching the sun and the silhouettes of mountains reflect off the calm waters of the Mekong was a sight to behold. My days on the boat were mostly spent listening to progressive house which sent me into a total trance, and I often had to remind myself that I wasn’t dreaming. People-watching became a bit of a pastime too: the Croatian man who drank the bar dry and the American girl who performed an over-dramatic ‘athsma’ attack and threw herself onto the floor because someone was smoking made for an interesting journey! It was when we reached the Laos border that things started to go wrong…
Because we’ve been travelling for a month and a half now, we’ve become hardened to the various scams and ways that people will try to rip you off. Although in Laos, it’s a whole nother ball game! Every time they set eyes on a Westerner, I’m sure they’re calculating how much money they can make out of you. It’s made us extremely suspicious of anyone who speaks to us or even smiles at us and unfortunately, that rather puts a dampener on your overall experience. The argument with a woman in a bike hire shop is a story that I won’t even go into, but I can feel myself becoming more assertive the more I travel. She was almost reduced to tears!
Despite the less-than-friendly locals, Luang Prabang and Vientiane are very pretty and you can’t mistake the French influence of both cities. Needless to say I’ve been gorging on croissants and pancakes when I’ve felt up to it. Once I’m back to my usual self we’ll be moving on to Pakse to do another trek and spend a couple of days at the Tree-Top Adventure (zip lining through the jungle and camping in a tree house), then over to Don Det and the 4,000 Islands where we’ll spend Christmas.