Thursday, March 26, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Leaving there we head back north up to Pakse in order to rent another motorbike and head out on a week long excursion (our butts getting more comfortable with being numb).
We picked up a machete from a seller off the road toward the Bolaven Plataeu. We thought we might need one for sleeping in the forest at some point (maybe build a shelter, but that never happened).
When we had arrived in Pakse, in the morning, we had planned to get some money and leave on the motorbike by afternoon. Turns out there was a problem with the head bank and no money could be gotten from any ATM's. Nolan had some U.S. dollars and Baht with him so he exchanged that and headed out onto the plateau. After a few days we realized more money was needed and we got a bit worried about finding a place to get some (though interested in how we might acquire money by means of work if need be). We headed to Salavan, thinking it was a pretty big town and an ATM wasn't too far fetched an idea. Nope. So we had enough gas in our tank to head to Sekong by means of Nong Bua.
We traveled down a dirt road through villages with people that stopped what they were doing just to watch us drive by. Headed into a jungle like atmosphere with sounds of life and air of clarity. Somehow we made it to a main road we knew was in a certain direction from a mountain we were going around. The road we traveled on became far and away the rockiest, most pot-holed, least traveled road I had ever been on. Even though it was wider, the road itself left much much more to be desired. We arrived in Sekong well after dark and found a room. In the morning we headed to the bank and they managed to get money transfered by using one of those credit/debit machines you see at the counter of grocery stores.
It is at about this time that Nolan and I parted ways. He headed back into Thailand and I head on over to vietnam, by means of a very dizzying border experience. After getting in and to a town with accesss to the railway I bought a ticket to Hanoi to meet up with a couple of Danish girls I had met in Laos. I really enjoyed Hanoi and would recommend as a definite place to visit in Vietnam, if only for the food alone (though renting a bicycle is very exciting in a city with such traffic as well). From there Petrine, Solveig, and I headed over to Ha Long Bay for some cold misty weather with a bit of sea food thrown in. Though the view was not nearly as nice as it could have been we took a boat tour and once up close to the karst outcroppings saw how beautiful the area could potentiall be in a month or so.
So when am I coming home and what are my plans? I must be honest in saying that I miss people but I do not miss going to school. I am still unsure of what to study and all things that entails. That being said I am registering for classes in a bit more than a week and my intented major is International Studies. What my area of concentration will be or what to do with that or if that is even for me, are still questions in the air. I have made plans in May to do a bit of farm work in Malaysia and I had made plans for doing some in Sri Lanka during June as well but all will depend on money, time, and my frame of mind.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
We did a lot of looking around in caves and trekking on some mountains both on and off paths. Then there was kayaking, tubing through a cave, and some rock climbing next to a river. The only downer is that there is a lot of haze due in part to the large amount of logging done in the area (slash and burn), and also a bit from locals burning their trash. The haze does allow a direct view of the sun as it sets, so that is a nice by product.
After realizing we had spent a week there and having only about two weeks left on our visa's we decided to leave and head to southern Laos, where we hear it is beautiful and the people aren't so apathetic toward tourists. I'll try to get some photo's online soon, but the city I'm in has only one internet cafe that I have found and it is not very fast; so it might be a week or so before I can upload some stuff.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
River Ping Palace
Mural painted by Giles' friend
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Esther hosting a bunch of us for massive amounts of dumplings
The skin of the duck is eaten around Chinese New Year (I think)
Geared up for being slung through the forest