Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Final Day in Laos

Monday 7th February 2011

MP3 track of the day: Whatever - Oasis

Weather: Hot

Due to having an early night last night I was up waaaay too early for our arranged breakfast meeting with Tom and Dorianna. Not wasting anytime I got dressed and then emptied my bag and re-packed it, ready for my boarder crossing tomorrow. Once this was done it was time to leave and so Joe, Rachael (with all their stuff) and I went across to the sunset side of the island. Joe and Rachael dropped off 12kg of washing at a laundrette (12kg!!! I don't think I own 12kg's of clothes at home, let alone whilst traveling) and we eventually turned up to find Tom and Dorianna not ready.

Apparently, after we all went our separate ways last night, Tom and Dorianna had met these Aussie guys and had stayed up until 2am drinking whiskey … which must have seen like an amazing idea at the time, however currently they were having second thoughts. Joe, Rachael and I sat down for breakfast and awaited their arrival. We had a quick meal before saying goodbye. Tom and Dorianna are thoroughly nice people and I wish them well for the rest of their travels.

After they had departed Joe and Rachael put their bags in their new home before following me as I finished off my photography. I then purchased some snacks for the journey tomorrow before finally packing all my stuff away and heading out for lunch. Yet again we found ourselves in our favorite restaurant; I had a little 'kip' to burn so, along with my chicken baguette, I had a plate of deep fried spring rolls (which were okay … better than the fresh ones).

We then generally mooched around the island chatting about everything and anything until it was time for tea. Having just recovered from being ill I was a little skeptical of trying new restaurants, however this is just want we did. We tried a place near to Joe and Rachael's new accommodation and I have to be honest the sweet 'n' sour chicken was pretty good. Still with 'kip' to burn I had a chocolate pancake for pudding and felt pretty full afterwards. The food had taken quite a while to arrive (which is typical Laos … you just wait) and so it was 9pm by the time we left the restaurant. Joe and Rachael invited me to watch a film at their place however I declined, I wanted to get as much sleep as possible for my long trip tomorrow. We said our goodbyes and hopefully we might meet up in Phom Phen within a week or so.

Walking back on my own I was scanning my brain to think if I had forgotten to do anything … nope all was good. My only problem would be is if I overslept and missed my ferry tomorrow morning as I didn't have enough 'kip' for another day here. Once back at my guesthouse I set two alarms and went to sleep.

So my time in Laos is up … and I'm quite glad. The people here are nicer than in any other South East Asian country I've traveled in. They won't try to rip you off (well not as much as the Thai's) when you purchase goods and they are always honest if you have mistakenly given too much money for something. The country is beautiful, however there isn't a lot to see. Cash is king here however the lack of working ATM's made we worry a lot. In other countries I've always taken ATM's for granted and I've never really thought about withdrawing cash before. Speaking of cash Laos has been my cheapest South East Asian country to date (basically because I don't drink and there wasn't much that I wanted to do) with an average daily budget of £13.00.

The country has to be careful that places like Vang-Vieng and, to a lesser extent the 4,000 islands, don't become it's main tourist attraction as that will give the country a drinking brand which I'm sure the local people do not want. However the main problem with Laos is that there isn't a lot to see; If I hadn't had to wait for my voluntary work to start in Cambodia I could have done this country within two weeks and saved an extra two weeks for Vietnam. I can see why some people say that Laos is their favorite South East Asian country as its still got it's rustic charm; however, with the influence of the Chinese, tourism and drinking tourism, I don't think it's going to last that much longer.

Toodle Pip!

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