Paradise - 4000 Islands
Trip Start Jan 10, 2010
26Trip End Apr 16, 2010
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So my last stop in Laos is this amazing place in the south where the Mekong splits in hundreds and hundreds of ways and literary creates thousands of islands, from 2 square meeter to few square KM wide, two of which are inhabited. I don't know if somebody really took the time to count them all but apparently there are 4000...
I took residence on Don Det, on the Sunset Boulevard in this nice bamboo hut equipped with a bed, a fan, a mosquito net and a hammock, overlooking the river and some spectacular sunsets (Sunset Blvd... !!! got it?) Love it! This is the place where I'm going to chill out, maybe catch up with my blog... but first lets check out the river. Sweet!! The water is fantastic, surprisingly clean, I swam between little islands for a couple of hours, always looking back trying to keep the bungalow in site. The fish here are very friendly and got a fish spa treatment for free :) OK here is what that means: if you stay still little fish will come and nibble at you feet eating the dead skin. It's weird and ticklish in the beginning but fun after you get used to it. In Siem Rieap you pay good money for same treatment on the side of the busy streets.
Meeting people when you travel is not hard at all, and 9 times out of 10 the ones you meet are wonderful like minded people that you connect to instantly
So on these lines it took a about 20 minutes to assemble an awesome group of people in the 4000 Islands paradise. A wonderful Dutch couple and another British one, a Swede and later on another Dutch couple and yours truly. Very soon Johakim, the Swede, introduced us to "Lion King" - Government distilled LaoLao. For an exorbitant price of $1 a bottle and an additional 80cents for a 1.5L Pepsi bottle (free ice!) it became the preferred conversational lubricant and fun inducing potion for the next few days. So much so that on the second night I believe we exhausted the guesthouse owner's supply to his delight and to our misery the next morning :). In all fairness the party included a bigger group, few Aussies and a Canadian lesbian, and it took place both on land and in the water until the wee hours of the morning.
With a mild hangover we rented bicycles the next day and we went around the island to see one of the waterfalls, swam against the current of it, and chartered boats to take us out to see the famous and elusive Irawady Dolphins. The boat ride to the spot for dolphins was awesome. With the Mekong in the dry season, the waterways around these islands are shallow, very often narrow with hairpin turns and the banks are rocky and dangerous looking with these strange trees leaning down river and balancing huge drift wood trunks some 6 meters above the water line
As intended, these few days on Don Det were super-relaxing, and having all these great friends around, priceless. But the time came to get my self out of this blissful "dolce far niente" and move along to the next country on my route: Cambodia.