Wet and Wild

I’m back in Bangkok.back in Bangkok
And I’ve been staying at Christoph’s place, a pretty luxurious apartment on the 22nd floor. Pool and gym in the building (not that I’ve used it…)
It’s a treat and a half to stay here and I’ve spend a few days watching chick-flicks and eating chocolate. Not great in combination with this lactose-intolerant-thing, but sooooo good.view from the 22nd floor

I have spent the last three weeks cycling down Laos, I didn’t go to all the places I had planned to, mainly due to bad weather. It has rained a good bit, but I loved the bits in between where I could enjoy the scenery. Laos has some wonderful roads, it’s a fair bit of climbing but when you arrive in one of those villages build on a ridge with a 360degree view it’s absolutely worth it… And anyway, I Like climbing 🙂dark sky

I’ve pitched my tent more than ones underneath a typical Laos house, they’re build on poles so your tent doesn’t get wet when it rains.village camping

During the day you see women weaving at looms sitting under the houses. sunset village viewIn every village beautiful children wave and smile, shouting : “Falang! Falang!” (foreigner)gorgeous smile

I cycled through one of those villages when a French guy (I soon found out) on a bicycle came the other way, we had a chat and for a change the villagers came to take pictures of us. He’s been on the road 2 years now and will be arriving in Bangkok soon as well. Might meet up, he’s heading for Australia too.big river, small boat boats

A funny thing in Laos was, I seemed to run into people I’ve met before.

And not just last week in Thailand on the ‘backpackers-trail’.
One afternoon, enjoying a beer with two fellow Dutch cyclist while waiting for the ATM to work (it didn’t and ended up taking money of my account while not giving it to me 😦 Wilbert cycled passed. Wilbert! They guy I cycled in Iran with over a year ago!

Another time I walked in Vientiane with a few girls when this Dutch guy asked me how we knew each other. My reply: ‘This is Christine from Germany; we had a great night out together in Katmandu. This is Lea from France, we had a chat when she passed me by jeep on the highest pass in Tajikistan, and this is Teresa from Australia, we went tubing together in Vang Vieng…” 😀Christine, Lea & Teresa
got to love this traveling-thing.

Tubing is a bit of a phenomenon. I’ve heard people talk about it everywhere so when I finally arrived in Vang Vieng I couldn’t leave without trying. And I have to say, ones you get past the initial annoyance of standing in line, paying a ridiculously high price for an inner tube and getting a number on your hand while being herded into tuktuk’s like a bunch of sheep and having to listen to people saying things like :’there’s nothing else to do around here..’, it IS actually good fun. Not so much the floating down the river in the tube itself as well the makeshift bars on the sides with giant swings, loud music, half-naked people and cheap alcohol. All the main ingredients…spider

It didn’t matter at all that it was pouring down rain.playing in the mud Even when we lost a life jacket and I had to lose my deposit by not returning the tube we were still pretty happy and kept going till the wee hours in the morning with Teresa and a Czech couple I’ve been bowling with in Luang Prabang…

Another one of them things. I’ve been bowling in Luang Prabang. A world heritage city with lots of temples and interesting sites.
And I went bowling. Twice.main street
But what can I say. It’s the only place that stayed open late so you sort of automatically end up there and have Dutch guys buying you drinks in return for a mention on your blog… so, thanks Erik, Arnoud & Rik 😉water falling

a boy in the waterfallBut those places are a world of difference with the rest of the country. It seems a bit mad having these kind of places in a country so poor and damaged as Laos.Im cyyyycling in the rain...

I was shocked to find out about UXO (unexploded ordinances) when I was in Vientiane. I never knew the Americans bombed Laos to bits for 9 years during the Vietnam War and a third of the bombs didn’t explode. Leaving the country a very dangerous place to live. But people who haven’t got any other source of income search and collect the metal and sell it. Even kids, who find ‘bombies’ that can explode. Leaving on average 100 people dead a year and many wounded.girl

And now America is the biggest sponsor for the clean-up action. They donated about twenty million dollars, about the same amount 9 days of bombing would have costs them…

At this speed it will take about 200 years to clean op the country.
Check out the work of Cope on http://www.copelaos.org/

But it is a beautiful country, found a pine apple! just on the road, how lucky!the road between Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng must be in my top 10 most dramatic scenery-roads I’ve cycled so far.VIEW!!! my bikeAnd when I stopped in a village to ask if it be ok to put my tent up for the night I got invited to stay with a sweet young family. They shared the little food they had with me and half the village came over to see this ‘falang’.fooddinner for 5 I couldn’t communicate too much but in the north, Omar had given me some English/Laos children books.inside a Laos home So with the help of a guy who did speak a little English I read the stories to the kids of the village, they seemed to have a good time, and so did I. boyEven picked up a little Laotian.. (or what you call it)at the pump

I crossed the border back into Thailand with Teresa. We spend over a week together and she was on her way to Bangkok to catch a flight. On a whim I decided to jump on the train with her to be able to spend more time cycling in the south.monks get flat tyres toopetrol station

It was another wonderful train ride. Not the least ‘cause we met some very friendly (and handsome) Thai police men who then spent the next day showing us around Bangkok 😉men in uniform ;-)

And now I’ve sorted the things that needed sorting and I’m about ready to move on.

Tomorrow I stay here because there is a party at the Dutch Embassy.Jannie, Mr, Ambassador, me and Ben
And I’m Dutch.
So. satalite dish shop sisters traditional dress working the fields

 

14 thoughts on “Wet and Wild

  1. Hoi Mirjam,

    Net je nieuwste update gelezen. Erg leuk om te lezen hoe het in Laos is gegaan. En de fotoruimte komt er aan :-). We wachten de bijbehorende foto’s wel af…

    Kus en veel plezier op de ambassade..

    papa & mama.

  2. You must be the magnetic traveller attracting all these people back to you! I’m just learning how to work your blog on my new computer. Watching you and others is helping to slow the realisation of no longer being on the road myself. Keep going, my brother and his family are waiting to pamper you in Melbourne!

  3. He zus!

    Dit keer niet een berichtje van mij alleen, maar van ons samen :-).

    Wat grappig dat je iedereen weer tegenkomt. Zo zie je maar weer, de wereld is klein. Heb je nog foto’s gemaakt van dat ‘tubing’ gebeuren? Daar ben ik wel benieuwd naar.

    Veel plezier op het feestje, we wachten de foto’s af.

    x Juud & Dim

  4. Laochester? Laoburger? Laotonian? Been pissing down ALL August in Derry. Just been to the Edinburgh Fringe festival though, twas wonderful. I recently saw Mama Mia (the movie) and I thought “the best person to watch that with would be Mirjam”! Go if you get a chance. Lovexxx

  5. They say what comes around, goes around so no wonder your mates keep popping up – it’s a small world after all. Go scrub an elephant for me – I think there is an elephant orphanage somewhere in Thailand….

    Good luckx

  6. HALLO MIRJAM, WEER GENOTEN VAN JE VERHALEN, KIND JE MAAKT WAT MEE, EN DAN DIE KINDEREN MET NOG NIET ONTPLOFTE BOMMEN, EN JE TOCHT ETC.WEER NAAR LAOS, ALS JE T.Z.T.JE REIS VOLBRACHT HEBT EN NOG EVEN UITRUST VOOR DE VOLGENDE (HA HA) KAN JE AL DIE REIZEN IN BOEKVORM VERKOPEN, GEWELDIG. IK BEDN WEER HELEMAAL BIJ EN WENS JE EEN GEZELLIGE TIJD OP DE NEDERLANDSE AMBASSADE.
    ALLE GOEDS EN GEZONDHEID.
    TANTE RIET UIT MAASSLUIS.

  7. lieve Mirjam zojuist je vader aan de telefoon gehad en die vertelde dat er weer een nieuw bericht van je was.We gaan het zo wel lezen en de foto,s bekijken.Maar ik wil je even vertellen dat ik het heel erg leuk vond je felicitatie op mijn verjaardag,Je vader heeft het op onze computer gezet en wil ik je zien en horen zet ik hem wel aan.Geniet nog maar even op de mooie flat in Bangkok en straks veel fietsplezier,veel liefs ook van opa en een dikke knuffel van oma.

  8. Mooi reisverslag, vooral het Laos gedeelte , dank voor je suggesties.
    Ik was op het afscheidt van de NL ambassadeur zaterdag, was je daar ook ? (dan niet gezien)
    Goeide reis , take care, mede namens Nom,
    Anno

  9. Ik je foto van het mooie uitzicht met die spitse bergen als achtergrond op m’n pc gezet. Met uw permissie..
    Laos is schitterend!

    Take care and have fun.

  10. Hoi Mirjam,

    Alles goed? Eindelijk je website gevonden. Kom je nog langs Cambodja? Ik ben daar vorig jaar getrouwd en ben nu samen met mijn vrouw in NL. Wij reizen over drie maanden weer af naar Azië.

    Groetjes,
    repko

    Dit is onze website: http://www.hou-husen.com

  11. Leuk om te lezen dat je reis nog steeds goed verloopt. Volgens mij was het in Vientiane op een terras dat wij als Barnevelders getuige waren van je zoeken naar een sleuteltje. Wij zitten al weer een heel poosje in een nat en druilerig Nederland. Bij de reunie met onze andere medereizigers begrepen we dat het inderdaad in Laos ook heel erg nat geweest is. Een goede verdere reis toegewenst.

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