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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 » Don Det February 13th 2019

Donnerstag, den 7. Februar haben Stefan und ich den 13h30 Bus von Vang Vieng zur Hauptstadt von Laos genommen, Vientiane. Die Busfahrt war ganz okay und zum Glück hielt der Bus nicht weit von unserem Hostel an, so dass wir nicht noch einen Tuk Tuk nehmen mussten, sondern ein paar Minuten zu Fuß laufen konnten. :-) Unser Hostel, das Barn 1920, war ein ziemlich cooler Ort : der Empfang, der Gemeinschaftsraum und das Kaffee im Hostel waren alle im Style der 20iger Jahre dekoriert und das Personal trug 20iger Jahre Kleidung. Auch die Zimmer waren super : jedes Bett hatte einen Vorhang und ein Schließfach, die Betten waren gemütlich und es gab genügend Toiletten und Duschen. :-) Als wir gegen 19h ankamen waren wir ziemlich hungrig und so sind wir sofort nach dem einchecken zum Markt ... read more
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Asia » Laos » South » Don Det February 13th 2019

On Thursday, February 7th, Stefan and I took the 1:30PM bus from Vang Vieng to the capital of Laos, Vientiane. The bus ride was quite okay and fortunately the bus stopped close to our hostel so that it was only about 10 minutes walking. After 5h in the bus, we were happy we didn’t have to take a Tuc Tuc to the hostel but could walk a bit. :-) Our hostel, Barn 1920, was a really cool place. The common area and the coffee shop were decorated in 20s style, the staff was dressed in 20s outfits and the rooms were great : curtains and lockers for every bed, comfortable beds and enough showers and toilets. We were quite hungry, so after our check-in we immediately went to the small food market outside our hostel. They ... read more
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Asia » Laos » South » Pakse February 4th 2019

A lay in for us this morning. We just have to get up, take a leisurely breakfast, zip up our bag and wander down to the ferry. Our bus is due to leave the mainland at 11.30am and the boat is due to leave Don Det island at 11am. We were instructed to arrive for the boat 10 minutes before departure so, like true British Citizens, we stupidly turn up at 10.30am. We are not the only ones I might add. We observe the local courier service arriving by ferry - three motorbikes packed with goods which are driven off a wooden punt and up the beach over a boardwalk. We had a bit of a mishap with our ticket when we came to check out loading procedures yesterday...’someone’ let go of it when it was ... read more
Goods arriving by motorbike courier
Vehicle ferry
Spirit House .

Asia » Laos » South February 3rd 2019

We are up early to get breakfast before our bus trip to Si Phan Don - otherwise known as the 4000 islands. Our bus arrives at 8.10am so really not bad as pick ups start at 8am and the bus is half full already. It’s a big bus with reasonable legroom and efficient air con. The last time we did this route we were squeezed on the back of a lorry - things have definitely improved in 16 years. :-) An hour in and we are now passing Champasak. We are not stopping here this trip. Billed as the Laotian ‘Ankor Wat’, all that we can say is that it isn’t! We were here before in a tin roofed shack with a concrete bath which we declined to use. It took us all of half a ... read more
Tubing
Tubing
Rescued by a punt

Asia » Laos » South » Bolaven Plateau February 2nd 2019

This morning we are off on a tour of the Boleven Plateau so we are up early for breakfast and an 8am pickup. The minibus is a pleasant surprise...decent seats and seat belts...which work! We are not the first pick up so our seats are near the back. We decide to move one seat forward sitting separately. We are fed up of bouncy back seats! This turns out to be a smart move as the lady sitting beside me disembarks after 30 minutes, leaving a double seat for us. It appears that she was just being delivered to the bus terminal. Now we are just 11 in a 14 seater bus and we are on our way. We have reached our first stop - Tad Fan. This dual waterfall comes tumbling out of the forest, dropping ... read more
Coffee making
Tad Yuang
Fooling around at Tad Yuang

Asia » Laos » South » Pakse February 1st 2019

We have arrived in Pakse. The bus station is fairly close to our guesthouse so it’s just a short tuk tuk ride and we are there. We check in and leave our bags in the lobby. The room won’t be ready yet but we have a few chores to carry out - first a bag of laundry to be booked in, second bus options for onward travel to investigate, and then to grab some breakfast at the cafe next door. Breakfast demolished, we book various bus, ferry and tour tickets for the next week and then we are all set for a sightseeing trip in Pakse. To be frank, there’s not a lot to do here, so we decide to hire a tuk tuk to take us to Wat Phou Salao with its huge golden Buddha ... read more
Big Buddha
Buddha and views
Dragon staircase




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