As I sat thinking about how badly I wanted to jump into the Mekong, to allow my feet to dangle where unknown things lurked, a chicken below my bungalow clucked “bokbokbokBOK!” as if taunting me. Under my breath so no one could hear me chastising poultry I said, “I’m not a chicken… you’re a chicken.” And made up my mind, my mind that was full of nothing and everything all at the same time, that I would indeed grace the Mekong with my presence, unknown things be damned!
So the day finally came when Ally and I said, it’s time. We rented a tube for 10,000kip each and met up with our new Aussie friends, Sarah and Chris. We waded into the warm water and awkwardly fell onto our black, sun soaked tubes. At first it seemed like we’d have to do all the work to get down the river but sooner than later the current caught us and away we went. As we floated past our bungalow we called out to our porch dog Grizz to see if he’d react. Well he didn’t just react he followed us down most of the river, crying the entire way! Don’t get attached to animals on your travels the experts say but what about when they get attached to you?
Tubing was more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Before when people would talk about getting into a tube and floating lazily down the river I would sit there thinking but why do that when swimming is so much fun! But now I get it. I get the appeal of lying back chatting to friends and allowing the sun to molest my skin that I didn’t apply enough sunscreen to!
After floating for about an hour we all awkwardly got out of our tubes and headed into a restaurant for some grub before grabbing our tubes and walking back to town. We figured a tuk tuk would come along and we’d be back by 5, (when the tubes were due back) with plenty of time to spare. Yet no tuk tuk would have us, they all drove past going the opposite way showering us in dirt road debris. 2.5k isn’t that far but when you’re thirsty, carrying sun satellites and your skin is beginning to audibly crackle it seems like the end will never come! I am pleased to say that we made it back and after a few days the front of my legs is almost matching the back of my legs again!
Days pass rather slowly in Don Det and while at first relaxation mode is enjoyable cabin fever mode soon takes over and the thought of doing just about anything is more appealing than the thought of another hour of nothing! We were lucky to discover a rather pricey yet very nice bungalow/restaurant with a beautiful view, debit machine and wifi and made it our do nothing but do nothing with wifi “retreat”. We met an English girl named Charlotte and hit it off with her quickly. She’s a writer and was excited to discover other writers… not that I’m much of a writer but I do enjoy it! Anyway check out her blog http://globe-jotters.blogspot.com/. So days of sitting on our deck and doing nothing turned into sitting at Little Eden, eating expensive yet delicious meals, catching up with news and entertainment from home, making a new friend and playing several rounds of the traveller favourite Shithead.
The remaining days in Don Det which seemed to never end, were spent writing, reading, swimming (yep I said screw it I’m way too hot I’ll risk being eaten by some mysterious river monster if it means I get to cool down!), meeting new people, researching our Cambodian adventure and surviving the most extreme thunderstorm I’ve ever witnessed.
Laos is a beautiful, mysterious country full of lovely, joyous people and it should not be missed. If you do head over make sure you pack, anti-nausea medication, swimwear, a waterproof camera, books and an open mind. Follow those simple suggestions and your Laos adventure will be brilliant just as mine was