Here I am a beautiful cool morning looking over the Mekong River to the golden roofs of the temple in Laos, waiting for a minibus to take me to Changmai. I am watching some crested bulbus, flitting around the broad leaves of a tree, beyond is a palm tree with the biggest coconuts I have ever seen. There is low hum from the computers, dogs barking, people chatting and the putt putt of the 40feet wooden canoes that ferry people across from one country to another. A faint musty smell surrounds this little computer cafe.
We have just spent two days coming up the river from Luang Prabang. Even although we were coming up river against the current, we chose the slow boat option. There were crazy looking speed boats that skimmed over the surface with all the 6 passengers wearing crash hats. With all the rocks that looked like the knobbly backs of languid crocodiles we decided not to tempt fate and the slow boat was fun enough. We past through jungles, cleared forest, road scars, fields, even saw some elephants bring their cargo to the river. On the side of the river people lived as they always have, dicated by the season, the floods and in cooperation with others.
Interestingly this AM as I walked along the road I watched a small group of boys waiting to go to school. A small boy came along and agressively attempted to kick them. Rather than retaliate the older boys quietly stepped away. It is the grace of Lao people that I will remember most. The children who lined the roads as we cycled past shouting Sabadee, hullo. And our waves rewarded with big smiles. Fathers and mothers attentive to their young children, babies straped to their mothers and fathers, and all mothers are working mothers.
On our boat with its assortment of western travellers all reading was a contrast to the local people. It was sad that I did not see more wildlife. I suspect that anything that moves here is eaten. I even ate some fried crickets one night but passed on the frogs and worms. The cricket were quite tasty but their little legs tickled my throat!
So on to the third and final part of our trip, freefalling in Thailand without a guide or a bicyle. It appears that Bankok airport is back to normal but the number of tourist is down. We hope to spend a few days in Changmai then fly south to soak up some rays, do some diving before heading back to the Canadian winter and christmas in Revelstoke with Chris, Shona, Lisa and Andrew and others.
Oh yes Chris and Lisa have opened their Bed and Breakfast in Revelstoke called the Cheeky Beaver. I am sure that it will be an awesome place to stay. The dictates of building inspectors will have made sure that the plumbing is well finished. I am sure I will not get my feet wet when I wash my hands - here the waste pipes are not connected to anything and just pour on to the floor!
Shona is in Europe again and racing a slalom in Spain but will be home for Christmas.