There are no trains in Lao, so we were relegated to using buses. This one was a real trip. We were overcrowded from the beginning and barely made this bus in time as it was. Jason had left our passports at the photocopier shop the night before and had to wake the shopkeeper at 5:30 in the morning to get them back in time to catch a taxi to the bus station the next morning to get this bus from Pakse in Vietnam.
Our luggage had to go on top as there was no room in the bus for it. People were already sitting on the engine cover and alongside the driver when we stopped to pick up this group of people alongside the road. They'd obviously paid someone to pick them up and cart their stuff across the border. They had glass- and stone-topped tables and chairs to transport, along with their luggage. They must be setting up a coffee shop or restaurant in their home town. And adding six more bodies seemed impossible!
A shop along the street selling beans and lentils and such.
Shrines in the monastery and temple area.
Many Buddhas at this temple we walked to in the heat of the day in Attapeu
The hotels price by the rooms, not the persons, and in some cases there were three beds in a room for the price. We never paid more than $20 for a room in the whole trip. Jason teased Paul relentlessly about being a 'shirt lifter' (gay) after he bought the conical hat in Viet Nam and took every chance to tease him and make a scene. Paul was a great sport about it and we all got laughs out of the antics of these two. Here they are holding hands in bed in Attapeu. What will people think now?
When we got to the bus station, this guy wanted all six of us and our luggage to get on this bus. No way! We let him go and caught the next one and got our choice of seating.
Karen with her face mask on in the bus. I really look like a bad-ass here don't I?
Our landing on the beach on Don Det. We trudged up the sand to the flat road and went in search of bungalows to sleep in. We hadn't booked any accommodation in advance for this island. This was noted as the quiet side of the island, where the music would be less of a bother. These islands are still hippie hangouts, complete with marijuana smoking if done discretely. The restaurants had padded cushions on the floor instead of seats and we'd see folks lounging around on them enjoying a toke.
A river bank scene of trees across the Mekong River from our bungalow. The orange leaves on the one tree was the brightest splash of color we'd seen in a long time so it got a photo.
Some of the 4000 islands in the Mekong delta area here in Laos. We aren't really sure what it takes to be considered an 'island' here.???
An old French bridge support left over from the war. They used to unload supplies here.
All in all, I'd probably give Laos a miss next time. We weren't into the war memorabilia or scenes and we didn't really see much else the place had to offer. I'll admit we only stepped into a tiny fraction of the country, and that was only because Jason really wanted to see the 4000 Islands area of the Mekong Delta (it had been written up as one of the 'must see ' places to visit before you die. Been there, done that, and didn't even buy a t-shirt!
Some of the shots above came from Calypso and Saol Eile.