Down the Mekong

sabai dee: the “bonjour” of Laos

The next morning, the guesthouse manager set up a table for Mel and I away from the partyers, who, despite an apparent late night were up early and cooking up a storm in the courtyard below our room. The smells wafted up to the terrace where we were eating our fried eggs and pineapple.

I noticed there was a preying mantis on my chair.

We left the hotel and got on a small, narrow boat that was taking us downriver so we could explore some of the other islands.

The Mekong plays a big part in the lives of many Lao people – they eat from it, bathe in it, travel on it, and it is vast. In the wet season (May to November), its levels rise dramatically, widening to almost two-and-a-half miles in some areas. And the fish in it grow really big:

(okay, so this 9-foot carp was caught in the Mekong in Thailand, but it was still the Mekong)

After a couple of hours heading south, we got off the boat to explore two of the many islands that make up the “4,000” (there aren’t actually 4,000). We docked (i.e. pulled up to a flat spot) and walked through some of the villages that lined the river.

rice fields being prepared for planting

handpicked chiles drying

There were a lot of animals roaming around,

water buffalo

spotted pigs!

really cute dogs

all of whom, unfortunately, would probably be eaten. (Not usually the dogs, but sometimes.)

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