Re-routes, Spiders and Rice Highways
Trip Start Apr 21, 2006
84Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We attempted to cross into Laos overland on motos earlier this week. However, the rainy season reared its ugly head and washed out the only available "road" that we could use. I use the term road loosely, as they seemed to resemble more a mud path rather than a proper transportation artery. We also had full intention of sleeping at the Koh Ker temple ruins, we even went through the trouble of purchasing hammocks and mosquito nets for the night. However our drivers persuaded us that it probably wasn't a great idea because of snakes and the weather. Consequently we caved and spent the night in a local guesthouse. I think the fact that our guesthouse room was almost as expensive as the one in Siem Reap, and we didn't have electricity or running water, probably had something to do with it (ie. we probably had to pay for the drivers to sleep there also)
So after venturing back to Siem Reap, we caught a flight into Pakse the next morning. The flight was actually quite comfortable, despite its discount price, and to our amazement the international airport in Siem Reap actually had a Dairy Queen (of all chains). They even turned Dave's Blizzard upside down to demonstrate that its product met international quality standards.
After our very brief escape from the 3rd world, we were back on the backpacking trail and crammed into the back of a makeshift bus, along with 6 other locals and 2 motos. Our bus ride took the better part of 6 hours due to navigating the fallen trees the monsoon winds had knocked over, and the moonscape of potholes.
We finally arrived at the port town Bam Nakasang, where we were dropped off in pitch dark (the power in the village had gone out because of the rains), and told to find The Boatman
Take life down to first gear, and then knock it back about 50 years or so and you have Dondet Island. Dondet is the largest of an archipelago of islands that pepper the Mekong in southern Laos. All electricity is run by generators, which typically kick in at sundown and shut off around 9. The sun sets at 6, so as you might imagine not a whole lot goes on around there. After spending five days perfecting our hammocking skills, reading books, enjoying the delicious food at Mo's Restaurant and Guesthouse (and definitely the finest pig roast of our trip), we were about ready for the real world again (ie. making the journey back to Pakse, in reverse order). One of the many highlights of the stay was the 6 legged arachnid that was hanging out in Shawn's room. With no experience with spiders the size of hockey pucks, we spent about 2 hrs scheming with ways to eradicate it. 2 broken buckets later, and with everyone on code red status, we resolved to let Shawn sleep in our room. The next morning when we told Mo that his guesthouse was home to "a man-eating spider, the size of my hand, with eyes full of vengeance and hate" he replied with, "oh...did you eat it?"...We're here for another 10 days.