So after another overnight bus and a painfree but expensive border crossing we arrived in Laos.
Laos is the most beautiful place we have been so far. It is similar to idonesia but without the large resorts and hotels. It is very very basic and unspoilt. It is the sixe of the UK but with only 8% of the population. Most peple earn $250 a year here. We have seen so many very basic villages with houses on stilts and all the family help out. We have seen small children with snorkel masks on fishing in the river with a net and also seen a little girl holding a chicken while her dad killed it. It really is amazing what is normal life here. The older children attend school in the evenings so that they can work all day in the fields.
We stayed in a small tatched bungalow with bamboo walls for $3 a night - we could have had ensuite room for same price but felt we should get the true experience. we took some bikes around the town and saw lots of temples, buddhist monks in their orange robes with black umbrellas, and their cars which are basically ride on lawnmower engines attached to a long piece of wood with a trailer to sit on. The engine is on top so they can take them down the river.
Life revolves around the mekong river - washing, bathing, fishing, irrigation. Therefore so does the tourism here. You can hire a inner tube from the town and then float down the river. Along the river banks are bars which have flying foxes and swings into the river. They also sell the famous "beerlao" (50p a large bottle) and "lao lao" (rice wine). Stu enjoyed floating down the river with his beer.
There are also millions of butterflies here - everywhere you look. We alsd visited the elephant cave (laos' orignal name meant land of a million elephants). We walked around villages and then went caving through the water cave which was very tiny and hard for stu to get around in!
In the evenings they had bars which all have their tv prgramme to show. Of course our favourite was the friends bar where you got to lie down in little booths and have delicious food for about $2.
Love fom the place which has been bombed most in the world ever - and is still the most beautiful,
Mel and stu x