Thursday, June 26, 2008

Update from Pakse

It's 11.37pm, I'm in bed at the Pakse Hotel - where Jerome and his wife Noy have afforded me the best hospitality during the whole of my adventure - and it's been raining this evening for really the first time on the trip. We've had some brief showers but for the majority of my 12 days on the roads of Laos, the weather has been hot and sunny. I haven't seen anything of Pakse yet as we arrived at 7pm tonight. Last night we stayed in Savannakhet and visited 3 waterfalls on the Bolevan Plateau on our way south earlier today. We were due to stay the night at Sala Savan but when we arrived at 8pm last night, everything was locked up and the renovated French colonial house looked deserted. So we booked into another hotel. We stopped by this morning to find out that the guy in charge had popped out at 8pm for his dinner and returned half an hour later, waiting for us to arrive. We chose that half-hour window to turn up and turn away! Oh well, better luck next time.
I'm travelling through Laos with my brother Tim in tow. We've both had a great time, met lots of interesting and extremely friendly people and been very impressed with the country and its people in equal measure. Its beautifully green, heavily forested on its mountainous slopes and populated by gracious hosts throughout. It's also a haven for eco-tourism style adventures with a river around every corner and provinces teeming with national parks. We've been fortunate to stay at some gorgeous hotels en route such as the Apsara, La Residence Phou Vao and Maison Souvannaphoum in Luang Prabang, and Settha Palace and Beau Rivage Mekong in Vientiane. As I said earlier, Jerome at Hotel Pakse has gone out of his way to make our stay tonight a pleasant one and tomorrow its an early start for one of the highlights of my trip, an early-morning visit to Wat Phu, a relic of the once-great Khmer empire that stretched throughout the region. More soon.

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