Welcome to Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands), Mekong archipelago, Laos, land of the Lotus Eaters.
A place to mellow your days away, blissing out in hammocks, supping on fresh fish, straying no father than heat dictates. For amusement: a spot of ‘tubing’; an attempt at fishing; a leisurely bike ride.
The only thing you need tax your mind about is which side of the island to stay on – sunrise or sunset?
exodus, joining the hordes for the boat ride to Don Det
find a bamboo shack (or tepee) and settle in
location, location, location (howz the serenity?)
a delicious meal of ‘laap’, the national dish
Richie goes local
remarkable mango tree, awaiting the rain to bud some fruit
cold noodle breakfast (Paul got the runs shortly after this one… me and Rich fared better)
bamboo fishing rig designed to ensnare a rainy season catch
cooling down with a watermelon shake. Easy on the sweetened condensed milk!
Don Khon wat
Mekong rapids, Li Phi falls, Don Khon
Warning: this blog contains gratuitous references to diarrhoea.
Bumping through rapids in rubber kayaks is a sport that’s dear to me. It’s how Richie and I met 6 years ago, and coincidentally, how we chose to celebrate one year of life on the road together, in Laos. This time, it was brown water and not white water I feared. River kayaking is a dangerous activity at the best of times, but kayaking with diarrhoea is a sport that only the hardiest attempt!
There comes a time, whilst travelling in South East Asia, when the only thing to do is ‘man up’ and carry on with whatever activity you’ve planned for the day, in spite of cramps, nausea and the persistent need to relieve yourself.
In the lean hours of the morning, moments before sun-up on the first day of our 3-day trekking/kayaking adventure, I considered it might be prurient to give the experience a miss. Richie would be disappointed, and there was also the risk of losing our deposit to consider, but all in all, staying in and waiting for the deluge to pass seemed a wholly more attractive and sensible option. Continue reading