A powerful coffee, nice roads, our second party LaoLao-style and a swim under a waterfall are the highlights of the fourth day of this Bolaven Plateau exploration.
7:00 – Already awaken, after a nightmare in which I missed two consecutive planes from Milano Train Station (?) to Canada (?). Hints for the shrink: it was my fault, I felt horrible for the money loss, and I tried to cover up the mishap to don’t feel imbecile.
8:00 – After just two days we are totally abituée in the next door guesthouse, where we have a bread with eggs and a papaya juice.
8:45 – Stop at Café Em just 200m from Sailoymen guesthouse, meeting the owner, waiting 10 minutes to have a freshly roasted Arabica coffee, yet again prepared with Italian moka. It was a powerful ass-kicking start of the day!
9:20 – We’re driving. The air is fresh, the road is pleasant.
11:00 – We reach Sekong, still with the coffee taste in our mouths. Sekong is hot like hell, people are probably hiding somewhere and overall it’s not the place where you wanna be.
11:30 – Further south, we reach Tad Fek waterfall (5.000 kip entrance with parking) where people were waiting us for our second party LaoLao-style! We got offered Beer Lao with ice as usual, the spiciest papaya salad I ever tried and two tasty grilled white fishes.
People were extremely happy to have us there, and started asking us for pictures.
Also today they offered us the single girls but nobody could explain us what was the party about.
Maybe they just had no need for a reason to celebrate.
In a group of 40 people, nobody could speak English but a smile, an hand on the hearth and a laugh go a long way connecting people that want to have fun together!
They also played the traditional “eat a banana and run to drink water” Laotian game, and they kindly allowed us to take a video of it.
12:30 – One guy manage to tell us that they are a group of Law students, and it seems to make sense as they all wear a polo with a scale on it, symbol of justice. But if I look around I do worry for the future of the country.
13:00 – Having a shower under the waterfall. The water is really warm. Isn’t the shower itself a waterfall in small scale? Nature is amazing.
13:30 – We thanks our new Laotian friends in all the languages and we’re off the party.
15:15 – Cloudio’s odometer stops working. Mine never did. So we’re left with no indication of the distance from departure and to destination. We blame the Frenchy from Belgium.
16:00 – We reached the Vietnamese village of Attapeu and checked-in the lovely Dokchampa Hotel (130.000 kip for a double with A/C). I feel “cooked” like the fishes we had eaten at the party. Dusty by all the dirty roads we drove in. Tired for the many hours under the sun.
Attapeu is very hot and there’s nothing but empty spaces. I think that kids must walk a lot here to get around!
18:00 – Off to explore Attapeu. We realized that we stopped a bit too early before, in fact the town center is one kilometer further and there we find the guesthouse Cloudio wanted to sleep in. The Xe-Khong riversides are empty and nothing was developed there. My opinion of the place doesn’t change.
Cloudio also noticed the restaurant that some blogger fellow recommended, so we have an early dinner. Here is like being in Vietnam without need for a visa. They all look Vietnamese and the menu has some interesting options: eel, snake-head, tortoise… I settle for a simple saultéé spinach with garlic. Nothing special, but at least no animals were harmed 🙂
19:30 – Quick tour in the night market. A guy offers me Ray Ban “made in Italy” for 100.000 kip, the same amount I paid mine three days ago in Pakse and that, I forgot to mention yesterday, already broke!
21:30 – I’m finishing my daily report. Will work a little after and then off to a deserved sleep! And happy birthday to Claudio.
21:35 – Internet stopped working and I can’t publish my report. I walk to the receptionist that is a young Laotian guy that wants to practice his English. He’s 24 and married with another girl from Attapeu. He normally works on a Norwegian project for Leftover Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), that are a serious problem here on the border with Vietnam. They go working on cleaning the fields from 1st of the month till 22nd, then they’re off so he can be here working at the hotel. He wants to know about my job and about Cloudio’s early retirement. It was the most genuine and close conversation I had with a Laotian so far.
Total distance almost 200Km.
Photo gallery (check the picture of Cloudio fighting with a local!):