Monday, 10 January 2011

On one of the 4000 Islands

I took a bus from Vang Vieng to 4000 Islands. I was supposed to be in the ticket office at 1 p.m. for the tuk-tuk pickup. I was there on time, but it took the at least hour and half to pick me, so in the end I've forgotten my "real" white Ray Bans what made me upset, cause they were really good copy.
Whole journey took long, tuk-tuk to catch a bus, bus to Vientiane, tuk-tuk to bus station in Vientiane, sleeping bus to Pakse, another bus to Ban Nakasang pier and finally boat from the pier to Don Det. Laotian sleeping buses are different than those in Vietnam. There are only two rows of beds, but beds are doubles, so you never know with whom you are gonna end up sharing bed. I was rather lucky, as at first I had bed for myself only, until bust stopped somewhere in the middle of the night and more people get on. What's more they definitely did not have tickets, but bribed the driver. And that is why I've had Lao girl to share bed with. And those beds are not wide at all. Luckily not for long.
In Pakse at the bus station we were supposed to show our tickets for the next stop, but I've either did not get the ticket (other people on my bus going to 4000 Islands had those tickets, so how possible is that, that I did not get the ticket?) or lost it. I had only ticket to Pakse. Ticket to Don Det was gone. I would rather say I've lost it, but it was so convenient to jump on the back of people from other bus (other company) and claim with them that I've never received that ticket. For them that story was truth, for me not. Oh very convenient, that convenient that in the end tour operator did not win with six women and we got where we've wanted without paying extra money.
Island where I've stopped is Don Det, which together with Don Khon are travellers' mecca. They are connected by old arched railway bridge built by French force. Railway did not work since WWII and in fact you can see old, rusted train near the bridge.
That bridge and Tat Somphamit waterfalls (also know as Li Phi Falls, which means 'spirit trap', as locals believe bad spirits are trapped here as they wash down the stream) was my first trip destination on the island. With 2 Aussie girls who I've meet arguing about tickets and 2 Aussie guys who I've briefly met in Vang Vieng we've rented bikes and did some exercises. And after overnight bus journey that was pretty tough. Especially that bikes were not of the best quality, so was the road.
I was staying at Mr Mo's Sunrise Bungalows, where I had my own bungalow with bed and mosquito net for 30.000 Kip. To go to toiled I always had to go out and that always gave me head ache. Shall I still be paranoid and close it or leave it open and struggle with the padlock. During the night especially. I still was paranoid.
In general life here floats different. It floats together with Mekong river waters. That means slowly and lazy. There is also not much to do. Of course, from healthy activities you can do some kayaking, biking, tubing and walking, but after one day biking you've seen almost everything around, kayaking costs more than you want to spend for it and tubing is nice, bus slow as slow Mekong river is. Though it was fun too. We were eight people, just sitting in tubes, chatting and letting the river carry us.
One of the most popular activities here is lying in a hammock and reading, and this is something that occupies most of my time, unless I'm playing shit head with Johnny and Nathan, who become my really good lads here. And what I like about them so much is that they always ask if I want to come over and join them. And next they ask me why do I hang around with them all the time. But how could I refuse such invitation? I could ask the same. Why do they hang around with me all the time. In the end thought we've agreed that we are too lazy to meet any new people, so we stick to each other. And they've had sunset at their side, as they were staying at the sunset side of the islands. I was on the sun rise, but never made it for the sunrise.
Ready to go?

Old, French railroad bridge. Can you see railway tracks fence on the left hand side?
Old Locomotive that stopped operating in WWII

Don Det main street

Don Det pier and beach

School girls at Don Det

Water buffaloes having a swim

Baby water buffalo not having a swim, maybe it did not learn how to swim yet?

Shadow of a man on the edge

Too shallow

Old French railway bridge, view from Santiphab bungalows

Sunset at Don Det

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