Sunday, 4 January 2009

South of Laos: Four Thousand Islands

On our quest to see the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin, we left the jungle airstrip at Luang Prabang with a Lao Airlines flight to Pakse, in the south of Laos. This saved us 20hrs of bus travel. From Pakse, we caught a public bus the same day to the Four Thousand Islands. It's where the Mekong river spreads out (14km at the widest section), creating numerous islands and sandbars in the middle.

On the bus, we travelled together with the locals including a couple of breastfeeding mothers and the obligatory chicken flapping around. Halfway through the journey, a dark brown pig got lifted into the bus, prompting everyone to squash up. The poor pig was just as panicked as the Israeli man, who had obviously never travelled with a pig before. Horror spread further on the bus after the pig did a trio of poos on board. The pig, its owner, and the poo (now in a plastic bag) got off the bus after 30 minutes. We were relieved that the smell disappeared soon after.

Today, we hired bikes and cycled for over 30km around Don Khong island past dry paddy fields, water buffalo grazing and little villages with houses on stilts. There was lots of 'traffic' on the road: cows, buffaloes, pigs and piglets, ducks, chickens, lizards and even a long and thin silver snake. Locals of all ages waved at us shouting 'sabaidee' (hello in Lao).

We woke this morning to the sound of exotic bird life and sunlight shining through the window. In the evening, an insect wall-of-sound filled the silence.

We also made friends with a very cute young cat (fortunately he wasn't rabid).

We're off to Don Khon today and then Cambodia. We may be away from the internet for up to week.


Anonymous said...

Love the story about the pig.

Mum & Dad