I had to backtrack (by plane over the ...

Trip Start Jan 12, 2002
Trip End Mar 25, 2002

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Flag of Lao Peoples Dem Rep  ,
Tuesday, January 22, 2002

I had to backtrack (by plane over the mountains - unforgettable!) to Vientiane to extend my visa and then flew to the South where I saw old Khmer ruins in Champasak and the Mekong Waterfalls on the Si Phan Don (4.000) Islands.
Because of shootings in the border area (elections in Cambodia) I decided to go back to Thailand in order to enter Cambodia via Aranyaprathet. Otherwise, I could have bribed the immigrations officials on the islands to use this (illegal) crossing.

Laos, that was simple lifestyle with Bucket Bathrooms and thin mattresses, waving kids in the river, amazing mountain views and candle light dinners (for the lack of electricity).
For all inconveniences, they made this trip genuine and special to me.
I will never forget the friendlyness of the people. Some of you remember my philosophical mail on the rivers and the kids of Laos and I will include these thoughts in the travelogue together with a photo of kids waving at me from the riverfront.

It was so sad leaving Laos and I might come back to explore the North properly. Even though the world is big and you shouldn't return to things you've already seen. This country means a lot to me and I'd do anything to protect it from being destroyed by mass tourism or political crisis or poverty or war. It has suffered enough during the American (Vietnamese) war, under countless revolutions and even now democracy is only there in theory.
I hope the kids and the rivers will prove to be strong and provide a golden future to Laos. They deserve it.
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