Laos, that friendly country with no beach but lots of beautiful coloured water

After an awful journey, where the bus got to the border to Laos at 3am and thanks to that let me have a really nice sleep of 3 hours, it took another 3 hours to get the visa done. And I didn’t even get it right on the first attempt. They had to get me two entry stamps because they screw up with the dates in the first one. Hopefully that will bring me no more problems than the fact of taking extra space in my passport.

The total journey got to 23 hours and by the time I got to Vientiane I was exhausted, had no local money and was far far away from the city. We asked to tuktuk driver to bring us to an ATM on the way to the city so we could pay him and that was it. By the time I got to the hostel, I didn’t want to do anything, I was wrecked and tired and feeling horribly. So I didn’t even go out for dinner and subsisted on ramen noodles and other stuff I happened to have. I was decided not to move and so I did.

Next day I woke up and no idea of what to do with myself. I asked around and got good reviews of Buddha Park, which I had heard before but didn’t interest me because I feel I have seen so many Buddhas… I decided to go and it was amazing, I enjoyed it a lot and loved it. There was this huge temple structure in stone you could climb and have views of all the park and then get in the inside part, completely separated from the rest of the layout. I simply enjoyed it as it was the best of the adventures. And then, I walked among the reclining Buddha and lots of other stone figures while imagining different stories for each of them.

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Buddha Park from the opening at the top of the “Temple”

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Can you imagine a story that involves an Hindu God and…a crocodile???!

The rest to do in the city was to walk around, see a huge arched door entrance and enjoy the cleanliness and the chilled vibes of the city. The buildings, the architecture, the translations of the funny Laotian characters… Everything was extremely French and somehow, refreshing.

Next morning I took a bus to Vang Vieng, the next stop on the way, but obviously nothing could go according to plan and the bus broke down after not very long. They never said anything to us and I knew I was too hot inside without the aircon, so I, as everybody else, stepped out the bus and hung there for a while until a couple of minivans came to pick us everybody. At the first stop we did, I had the pleasure to meet Norm and Lola, a Dutch and a German girl that were also travelling alone. We got together for the next two days, sharing food, fun and stories. We agreed on going tubing the next day and so we did! We waited for our tuk tuk to take us to grub our tube and there we met a group of 3 Swedish guys that came with us the whole way. Tubing was super fun, although nothing of the crazy stuff that used to happen years ago. There were just 2 bars and people were drinking but chilled. I had a brilliant time, despite I was definitely above the age average in the place and have 9 and 10 more years than my new friends. So what?! It is so true when they say that age is just a mental thing…

Next day, only Lola and me were left in the plan, as everybody else was gone or got lazy and took a tuk tuk. So we rented bicycles, which I was dying for, and got to the viewpoint that someone recommended me the day before at breakfast. The climb was a bit tough, especially because of the heat. But so fun and rewarding! I was missing so much the sport and the activity… Once on the top, we just enjoyed our moment there before we were resolved to come back down.

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Observing views on theway to the top

By the time we got back, the group of locals warding the entrance that had set the place up apparently just a few weeks ago invited us for lunch. Lola looked at me like: what??? And I just could not help to join them. I was amazed by the spoon they were using, made out of bamboo and got to try the soup with the little fishes they were having. I also tried the dried meat and the sticky rice. I tried everything. But the main business here for them was the rice wine, which they were also drinking with the funny spoons.

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Eating and refilling spoons with rice wine

They insisted and insisted and insisted in more and more rice wine. The first shot was ok. The second was very strong. By the third one I knew I had to stop it or I would end up completely wasted. You don’t mess around with the rice wine, it some drink they brew themselves and it is super powerful. But they were so nice and trying to make everybody happy (on the rice wine account) and insisted so much that we had to drink with them… All I could do was to share the shots and wet my lips a bit. And when they kept going, I just refused, I just had to despite I didn’t want to be rude or disappoint them. The time to say goodbye came, as I didn’t want to spend there all day, not especially drinking rice wine. And we headed to the blue lagoon.

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I was saying it was the last one I was drinking because he was insisting so much, but definitely the last one. Do I need to say it wasn’t the last one????

We had been told that it would be super touristy, so no surprise there. But I must say that it was just amazing and had great great fun. There was this tree from which everybody was jumping to the water and I obviously wanted to do it. It was the first thing I had to try there. I asked Lola to record me, as she wasn’t interested in doing it herself. I climbed up to the tree and looked down. F*ck, it was soooo high!

I just didn’t think about it much, said hello to the camera (Lola was recording) and jumped. On the way down, I did two things: scream like if there is no tomorrow and shrink my legs out of fear to the depth of the lagoon, which resulted in an awful and huge bruise in my butt/back of the leg. Despite the pain, that didn’t stop me to try two more times. Every time I had to shout (like when I go to an attraction park, I suppose is the injection of adrenaline to my system), but the technique got almost perfect at the third attempt. The day passed in the lagoon, just watching people jumping, which was super fun. We made an attempt to visit the cave over there, but after lots of steps and as tired as we were, we couldn`t find the way to continue after 5 minutes and just got back and took our bikes back to town. It was a super active, super fun day!!!

Next day we were just on our way to my last destination in Laos, Luang Prabang. By the time we arrived we felt like nothing but chilling and at night time we crawled out of our dorm to have a walk and find the night market, were we also found food. Next day, we woke up extra early (before sunrise) to see the Monks walking in a line and taking the offerings of the people. It is a whole thing to experience here. All I experience was frustration, as I saw the tourist standing just right to the Monks to take good pictures and flashing them out, dozens and dozens of times. I mean, if you are not participating in the ceremony, just observe and take picture without intruding in it!!! But people is blind when is about to take the best picture (I don’t understand for what) instead of just looking at what is going on and being respectful with the whole thing. So I went back to bed a bit annoyed, but got back to sleep until breakfast time. Still, I could notice while watching that most of the people offering were tourist and that a few local kids were there with a bag and monks were getting rid of some stuff in their bags. I wonder if they are just sharing or this is just one of those stupid things to make benefit, so tourist buy stuff to offer in the morning from the vendors and the Monks get so much stuff that get rid of some of it like that and get back to the vendors. It is sad to think like this, but I have seen enough people trying to scam me and enough monks not being nice or correct as you would expect from a monk. So I just wonder.

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Monks in the line, taking the offerings. I said it was very early, yes, it was still dark.

After breakfast, it was just settled a visit to a famous waterfall that didn’t disappoint at all. The colour of the water was unreal. Plus, you could get to sink yourself in the quieter parts of it! As hot as it is in this country without a beach, that’s something to appreciate. Lola and I took turns to make a few nice pictures and we just did well!

Next day, we had to change hostels due to a problem of logistics (we just didn’t book an extra night and by the time we wanted to, the hostel was full). SO the morning was annoying enough but everything is kind of close in this small town, so fair enough, I will use this time to pack properly. I just spent the whole day being hot and researching stuff to do for the next month.

I have several feelings here: I feel I am more lost than ever. I don’t feel the need of coming back to anything and not sure if I will. Plus, I feel the pressure of having to plan a lot because the countries left are more difficult to do (visas, itineraries, flights and paperwork in general). That makes me feel a bit overwhelmed, but I don’t want to give up. Time is precious and I will be taking it as it comes. Therefore, I am getting ready for spending a week in Malaysia and hitting Oceania, finally!!!

I feel extremely happy; extremely worried about how expensive that can result and extremely cautious with my luggage due to the amount of flights that I will be taking in the next month.

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