4000 islands, paradise in the Mekong river

Trip Start Oct 16, 2009
Trip End Nov 15, 2009

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Where I stayed
Pan's Guesthouse

Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday 4th November
Si Phan Don = 4000 Islands is sooooo mellow and laid-back.... :-))) I've got my private bamboo bungalow on the island called Don Khon(e) with a porch and hammock and beach chairs overlooking the Mekong, sunset side... Life on the islands is slow and friendly... good food and drinks...

The Australians
Got here after an early rise and a 'VIP' minibus. I was seated next to an Australian couple in their mid fifties. At first they seemed like nice folks to talk with, they were well travelled and the lady in particular was very talkative. But after a while it turned out it was going to be a two hour monologue about where they'd been and what they'd seen there and that I should go there too. Every once in a while she did ask me a question and I answered, but every time she interrupted me and used my answer only to pick up where she'd left off in her monologue, about something vaguely similar to what I had said. Apart from that she also had quite smelly breath. :-(  In the end I just gave up and just uh-hummed a bit here and there and asked a few questions about countries I was interested in; but stopped expecting her to show the slightest interest in me. I was tired from getting up early anyway so it didn't matter. I'm glad it was only a 2 hour ride though. :-) 

The Spaniards
My bungalow for the first two nights on Don Khon was perfect, except for one thing: my neighbours. They were a young Spanish couple who had apparently brought their own sound system. Which they used to play music until late at night. I guess they thought this masked their moaning and other noises I really didn't want to hear, but what can you do, those cute, charming bamboo huts are as soundproof as a canvas tent! Sometimes they were even able to go right through my ear plugs so one time I told them to be quiet. Pfff.

Slow down...
During my days on the 4000 islands I did very little... slept in... read books... drank fruit juices... rented a bike and explored Don Det which is connected to Don Khon by an old railway bridge the French built but never finished... biked to the big waterfalls in the Mekong... enjoyed sunsets, and took photos... swam in the Mekong... and had some more fruit juices and great food... too bad there was not one massage parlour!

Click here for a video taken from the bridge over the Mekong between Don Khon and Don Det islands.

Move to Pakha guesthouse

That first bungalow only had room for two nights, they had told me this in advance so I had already looked for a new place to move to. That was in Pakha guesthouse, run by the sweetest Lao couple (about 57 and 58 years old). It was situated well beyond the last restaurant in a very quiet area where only Lao people live, but I think not so many years from now this part will also be swallowed up by the tourism industry.
The lady called Saysamone received me warmly and we chatted for ages. In French, because her French was better than her English. Her husband had been a teacher but was now retired and building the new rooms of their guesthouse. They seemed very sweet towards each other as well, playfully teasing each other and helping each other out with little tasks.

Didn't do much else on my last day there; another sunset, and more chats with Saysamone...
Which is what most people come here to do: just lay in a hammock and read books and relax. Mmmmmmm. :-)))

This is just a selection of the pictures, there are more... but I cannot batch upload on this computer. Will add more later.

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