The first part of our trip across the border was uneventful as we arrived on the Cambodian side (which was three huts in the middle of nowhere) and paid our bribe to get our passports stamped and back. Then we walked to the Laos side (which was the same as the Cambodia side other than 6 border guys in hammock whilst the other 3 worked!) and had to pay another bribe - again to get our passports back. There was 6 of us crossing into Laos but a Canadian guy (stupidly) hadn't checked the border and didn't have a Laos visa so couldn't get across. He then preceded to rant that it was a stupid border as you can get a visa on the border going the other way. No one had the heart to tell him that it was two different countries so you have different entry rules! Idiot!!
We were then dropped at a restaurant in a small town that was like out of a Western movie as it was a single dirt road! We were told we would be there 15 minutes and 2 hours and a missing tour guide later we were starting to get worried (and angry) but eventually got to an island in the Mekong. The area is known as 4000 islands. It is an area where the Mekong is 14 kilometres wide and has thousands of little islands and we have started by staying on the biggest (32 kilometres diameter).
Our first day on the island we did nothing but on the second day we hired a moped to explore the island. As Sarah can't ride a bike I did all the driving and I have to say that it was a lot of fun so I'm not complaining. Everywhere we went there was children running into the street and shouting hello and waving. The people here are so friendly and just love trying to talk to you (in Laos even though we can't understand a word) and just seem genuinely happy to see you. As it is the dry season there are no paddy fields so the locals set there fishing nets in the morning, do nothing all day and then collect the fish at night.
It was such an enjoyable experience that we hired another motorbike (moped doesn't sound as good) on our final full day in Don Khong (or should I say on). We had the same experience with the people but the ride was ruined when I noticed the back tire slipping around like a wagging dog tail and an odd noise. The back tire had punctured and we were at least 5 kilometres from the nearest village in the burning sun. We started the long walk back pushing the bike. It was then when we were shown just how nice the Lao people are! We were walking past the last of three houses when a women stopped us and pointed next door and then woke a guy up to fix the tire, we were unbelievably grateful, then when we asked the price he only charged us 5000kip (under 50p). I think I'm falling in love with the people here!