Blogs from Tat Lo, South, Laos, Asia


Asia » Laos » South » Tat Lo January 31st 2022

In our last missive I decried the residual resistance to vaccine uptake in parts of the wealthy west, as well as its hesitant roll-out to their juveniles. Even more pertinently we worried about the limited availability and constrained distribution of vaccines within developing countries. Such outcomes were likely to see new, potentially more threatening, variants emerge. And sadly so it proved. Most of Africa trails far behind the rest of the world in terms of vaccination rates, whilst several countries there still have outrageously high numbers of individuals infected with (non-retrovirally controlled) HIV whose defining immunocompromising nature enables other co-infecting viruses to multiply to horrendous densities, thereby, mathematically, increasing the probability of new mutations arising. Thus, from somewhere in the soup, we saw the emergence of mega-mutated Omicron that, whilst it... read more
Woman digging for frogs
Search for a photo opportunity? Nah, sit in your garden and wait for one to appear on the wall.

Asia » Laos » South » Tat Lo August 28th 2021

Early June and a rather miserable Phuang presented with conjunctivitis (pink eye). Ali recommended chloramphenicol eye drops and they were duly sourced and initiated. However, a mere day into their application and Phuang reappeared bearing a small dish of a greyish creamy liquid that had been proposed as a supplementary (traditional) remedy. What was it? Breast milk. OK, I am aware from whence milk originates… it was human milk. And there is no shortage of this commodity, there always being a newborn or two in the vicinity. The idea was to peel a length of turmeric root, excavate one end to form a bowl, add the milk and then float the receptacle in hot water until the human exudate acquired a temperature of optimal potency for purpose. We were both skeptical and Ali somewhat reticent to ... read more
Mui looks out
Same old view different sunset.
Our three - Pak Dam, Lulu (pregnant) and Lola.

Asia » Laos » South » Tat Lo May 22nd 2021

There’s a British phrase, oft rolled-out at times when their acquirement is in the ascendancy (think Christmas and pandemics): that a dog is for life. No such sentiment exists here, at least not rurally. Dogs are not so much owned as inherited; if they choose to live close to you then other humans may consider them yours, although the canine’s allegiance may flip at any time. Equally, if their presence becomes a hindrance there is little saccharinity involved in ridding yourself of the nuisance. Dogs are transient. Our original alpha male here at Sipasert, Chilo (my first Laos love), bit two individuals and was duly exiled. We have never seen him again. The same fate befell Pak Dam when, as a playful young pup, he nipped Ali. However, on that occasion, our impassioned campaigning did see ... read more
The flame trees start to bloom
Somphone's youngest

Asia » Laos » South » Tat Lo August 28th 2020

I finish a blog and, once posted, have absolutely no inclination to type any new thoughts for at least a week. Of course you do, typically, have to wait for something mildly of interest to actually occur before you can write about it. But, with current inevitable time on our hands, I re-read our previous blogs from Laos and they bring the pandemic’s projection very much into real-time focus, revealing the shocking reality of quite what can happen, has happened, in such a short period of time. In little more than 5 months (since the WHO announced the outbreak as a pandemic on the 11th of March) we’ve gone from 126,214 cases and 4,628 deaths worldwide to a position where several countries are independently recording half that number of new infections per day and globally we’ve ... read more
At the Wat's fringe
Hunting shrimp

Asia » Laos » South » Tat Lo July 16th 2020

I had said that the next blog would not be from Tad Lo, surely we’d be on the move and somewhere else within internally-open Laos. I’d also stated that the virus we really fear is Dengue, not Covid. However, I had overlooked the unequivocal bad boy: rabies. The chances of Dengue or Covid killing a fit and healthy individual are slim, rabies doesn’t mess: once you have symptoms an unpleasant demise is as near a certainty as death itself – only 14 people ever, worldwide, are recorded as having survived it and some 59,000-odd per year don’t. If you are travelling extensively within a rabies endemic country you are strongly advised to have a series of shots prior to departure. These are not cheap. And we have never done so. Why? Because my belief was that ... read more
About to lay a seine net in the Mekong

Asia » Laos » South » Tat Lo June 12th 2020

Our last day in Brasil found us in our most favoured of habitats, a local’s boozer. Here the indulgent management blessed their rare gringo visitors with a – lengthy - Celine Dion medley on the jukebox. We were touched and not too traumatised, but still thought this weird. Fast forward eight months to yesterday in Laos. Teaching was over for the day and we’d just polished off our self-caught fish dinner when Khamlar came running. “Teachers, come come, we go”. Where? Along with the elder children we piled into the back of the pick-up and off we sped into the sticky night. The throbbing neon lights that greeted us did not suggest a two year old's birthday party, but that it was… for the stocky bruiser that is Mario (yes, a further name we can pronounce). ... read more
Our rickety bridge
A SE Asia bubble merited.... soon?
New fishing companion

Asia » Laos » South » Tat Lo May 15th 2020

Late morning on the 26th of April sat on the balcony with much needed coffees and angry hangovers we witnessed six youths hauling a laden sheet, field stretcher-like, through the waist-deep river. What the partially floating load comprised was unclear. On reaching the monastery it was carried up the waterside steps before an assembled crowd. Was this part of some festival, maybe a covid-lockdown-delayed New Year offering? Had they – as threatened – finally harvested those chunky carp entrapped in our falls/shallows isolated stretch of the river? Tragically it was not. The bundle had actually contained the body of a young man. The night before he had been collecting snails, seemingly from above or on one of the waterfall’s many tiers. He must have slipped, hit his head and drowned. We had been up, sat outside, ... read more
Tilapia two ways: steamed and fried
Our regular visitor, a katydid?
One for the barbie

Asia » Laos » South » Tat Lo January 26th 2013

We always have a very hard time writing about places like Tad Lo. It tends to be that way with our favourite spots. Needless to say, we found another gem!! Due to the lack on information available for Tad Lo we will write this blog a little differently in order to aid future travellers. GETTING THERE: From the Pakse bus station we hopped on a bus to Salavan. We told the driver we only wanted to go to Tad Lo so we only had to pay 30,000 Kip. Depending on how many stops the bus makes for riders getting on or off the time will vary. We were expecting a one hour bus but it took about two hours. From the drop-off point, catch a tuk-tuk, minibus (or if you show up after dark like us, ... read more
Tad Suong
Us on the edge of Tad Suong
Gold Buddha's view

Asia » Laos » South » Tat Lo December 24th 2012

V noci bola riadna kosa,sprchu som radsej nedal i ked bola tepla ale bola mimo bungalovu,tak som tu zimu riskovat nechcel moc. Rano ma zobudil volaky pako co furt volaco vyhukoval do megafonu,trvalo to hodinu. Tak som sa o 7/00 pobral nastartovat motorku. Ta ma uz cakala pripravena pri bungalove. Na noc mi ju majitel skoval do ohradky pod svojim bungalovom. Normalne chytila na supu,ale vzdy ked som pridal plyn zhasla,toto sa opakovalo asi 4x,potom ani netukla. Chvilu som rozmyslal kde moze byt chyba. Urcite studeny motor. Spravil som dalsi startovaci pokus,nabehla,cul som ju uz len tak nechal nastartovanu a chvilu cakal nech sa ohreje. Na ranajky som zakotvil v mamas restike. Jasne,ze mi zas donisli nieco uplne ine nez som si objednal. Polievka s kuratom a zeleninou,opat mega porcia,som to ani cele nezjedol. Baba nemala ... read more

Asia » Laos » South » Tat Lo October 10th 2012

So after two nights in Pakse, I made the trip eastwards to the Bolavan Plateau, specifically to the village of Tad Lo, famous for its waterfalls. The bus from Pakse was headed towards another town called Salavan, so to get to Tad Lo I actually had to get off halfway and walk another couple of kilometres. There was actually a motorcycle taxi waiting at the junction between the roads to Salavan and Tad Lo, but being the cheapo I was I didn't even enquire the price, and just decided to hoof it. It didn't sound like a particularly remote or quiet place from the LP description, but when I arrived it soon dawned on me that Tad Lo, while not exactly off the beaten track, was not a typical tourist spot either. Sure there were the ... read more
Just Having a Drink by the Xe Set
Pakse - Tat Lo
Walking to Tat Lo

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