Published: March 20th 2008March 20th 2008
First of all, i would like to thank Benji for all the time we spent traveling together. It was great man!
In Xishuangbanna, we did a trek of 2 days in the mountain south of Jinghong, in the purpose to see some nice scenery and the Dai villages, the main ethnic in this region. Our guide was named Stone, a skinny short man, shaved head, who was working in IT on the east coast of China before moving to Jinghong, to escape from the pollution and the life he didn't enjoy. "here I can enjoy again de blue sky"
he told us. On the picture below, he showed us a pineapple fruit. Too bad it was not ripped yet, all you can find inside the fruit was water at the moment.
The villages look quite undeveloped, however they all at least own 2 modern equipments: a parabola to watch TV and a solar heater for the water as you can see below!
A great man Stone was. It happened that before getting to sleep, while we were drinking beers with our hosts, Stone was sitting in the corner of the room, in the lotus position: he was meditating. Everyday, he
meditates at least 1h. "Lots of things surrounding religion are not good"
he says. "I am not going to temple" No bling bling for him
. Religion is something very personal, everything is in your heart. Later, he told us "I learn meditating by surfing on the internet"
Football is a universal language. In Luang Prabang and Nha Trang, Benji alias Zizou and I played football with local kids. As showed on the photo, two monks where palying with us. We saw lots of kids dressing as monk. We were told that by using the donation from the faithful, temple could welcome poor kids and provide them education. Being monk as a kid is not a commitment for life. During that football game, the 2 monks turn out to be the best english speaker. We can thus realize all the benefit for them to have joined the temple.
The roads in the north of Laos are quite bad. Expect to do 100km in 3 hours! The bus was slaloming between the holes and the sharp turns of the mountains. The asphalt was gone at many parts. And being 18 people in small Toyota van, with all the luggage
Showing us a pineapple fruit
attached on the roof was not helping to go faster! However, the scenery was gorgeous. Despite the beauty of the nature, we also keep in mind the sadness to see such poor villages along the road. Our bus was passing by those villages without stopping, blowing the dust of the road into the houses made with only some light wood. We had the impression that those people have nothing. Nothing to sell on their stall, nothing to decorate their house and the village. Only some bambous, dust, and chicken running in between the children. They probably make a living by planting rubber trees in the mountain.
Further to the south, near Luang Prabang, when the road are getting less steep, the villages seem more wealthy. The following pictures are taken from there.
There are more photos below