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Published: March 3rd 2006
Since I had to return to China in the same way (only one border crossing between China and Laos) I did not want to travel too much. This is the reason that I have visited only few places. And also, I felt that I was in vacation from China, no need to rush, just relax and chill out.
Almost all travellers in Laos, however, enter Laos from Thailand at one point, travel in Laos and then return to Thailand at another point. This is easy to do since Thailand and Laos have 6 border crossings. When I told people that I was going to China, most of them were a bit surprised.
Many of them did not even think about doing it. Apparently, travelling in China is still frightening people. After one month of travelling in China, I can understand why. It is more difficult then other countries, however challenging and possible but g.
Of all 4 places in north Laos that I have visited, the best was Muang Ngoi. It is a village by the Meckong river that is accessed to it is by one hour boat from Nong Kiaw village. The only engine sounds are the motor
boats during the day and the electricity generators during the night. From about 18.00 and until about 22.00 there is electricity and after that the village is completely under darkness. This creates a bit of a problem for digital cameras holders since it requires 2 days of batteries charging. Also, no outlet in the room (the accommodation here is very basic, just bamboo huts with bathroom outside) so I used my guest house owner outlet.
During my stay over there, I was bathing in the Meckong river like the local people, the local buffalo and the local cows do. In Rome, act as a Roman. It does not look very hygienic but the other alternative is to take the bath in the traditional Thai bath where its water probably arrive from the same source so it does not matter.
It seems that this village has completely changed during the 5 years that it is the tourism business.
Most of the residents have a shop or a guest house or a restaurant and they abandoned the agriculture. All the rice fields in the area are dry. Either this is not the season or they just don’t cultivate them any more. Like
elsewhere in the world, it was proven that tourism is much more profitable than agriculture.
There are quite a few tourists but not so many Israelies so far. This is maybe the reason that there is only one sign in Hebrew and only 2 typical Israeli dishes were introduced to the restaurants menus which are Shakshuka and Israeli salad. And what about some other typical Israeli dishes such as schnitzel, humus, etc? And what about a separate Israeli food section in the menu? Some more Israeli tourists and this ‘mistake’ will be fixed like elsewhere in the world.
There are lots of French tourists here. I think that they come to Laos and to Vietnam because of the buggete. When I meet French tourists, I tell them that, they laugh and say that this is not true. Maybe so but I am sure that one reason for so many French tourists in Laos and in Vietnam is the history. However, it is a shame that the only remains from the French colonialism era is the buggete and some old people that still remember their French. What about good cheese, cold cut, etc?
As I wrote in my previous story, the
Lao people are very relaxed and easy going. This is why the atmosphere in Lao is nicer than in China where the people are loud, pushy and a bit aggressive. Another thing that I liked in Lao is that it is not only the woman that works at home but also the husband helps her. It does look like a good harmony and co-operation, not only in contrary to other rural places in 3rd world countries but also in contrary to other places in the west.
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