Saturday, March 12, 2011

Laos Time

For the last five days, Hue has been cloudy and rainy. Not sure if it is a constant here, but I have no cold weather clothes with me, and am a little tired of being cold. My travel buddy, Jae, has long since left me in the dust, due to her tight schedule and my lack of being in a hurry for anything. On the up side, I met another really cool girl named Joelee. She is also tired of the cold, and both of our visas for Vietnam are up, so together we caught a bus to Laos. We took a three hour mini bus ride to the Lao Bao border crossing, and after getting our stamps and what-not, got on a bigger bus for the 4 hours or so to Savannakhet. The views on the Vietnam side of the border were exquisite, some of the best in the world, and this is coming from someone that grew up in the beautiful Colorado. However, as soon as we were through the border, the landscape changed drastically. All of the sudden it was very hot again, and instead of mountains and streams, rice patties and jungles, it turned into barren deserts and burnt up rice fields. It kind of reminded me of parts of Malawi infact. Now before some of you comment saying that on the contrary, Laos is very beautiful, keep in mind that I just got here, and am only talking about the highway area between Lao Bao and Savannakhet. Very soon I will be traveling north, and am sure the landscape will once again impress. In fact, today Joe and I bought our bus tickets to Vientiane, and will head even farther north from there, planning on floating the Mekong river.

For today though, we are in the not so touristy town of Savannakhet. We have maybe encountered 3 other westerners, and have had quite the hard time communicating to anyone, as English is not so prevalent. The town is such a huge change from Vietnam, or any of Laos' neighbors for that matter. The street are virtually abandoned, traffic non existent, compared to the busy rat race with thousands of scooters trying to run you over that I am use to. Kind of nice for a change. No one asking us if we want a tuk tuk every 2 minutes, no one following us around trying to sell us sunglasses. The backpacker we are staying at is $3 a night, which turns into $1.50 if you are sharing with someone. Can't complain about that....Oh and Facebook works again, it was banned in Vietnam.

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