It is Friday 13th of March when some French fellow travellers and myself take a bus from Thakhek to Pakse. We arrive there early morning and immediately take a local bus to Nakasang. At the pier, we have a coffee and take a boat to Don Det. After exploring the island on one side for about 2 hours I rest in the hammock for I do not know how long. Then I decide to find a place for my tent in the woods outside the village.
Next days go by in a peculiar fashion. I am getting more and more relaxed as the days and nights go by. I wake up in the morning. Everything is so fresh!
I rent a bicycle and go to the big cascades on Don Khone, the adjacent island. Chris, a dready arborist from NZL, joins me. We relax at the big waterfalls and enjoy the afternoon. On the way back I get lost. Take a break. Settle down. Eat a good meal and continue the journey. Friends are there to help me.
The other day I walk to the far end of the island and discover a great bathing spot.
Meet an old friend there and two new friends. Take a bath in the Mekong river flowing north at this point, changing current in the middle to the south. Water buffalo joins us. Evening arrives soon. I go back and have a daal with rice. Some Indian food is always nice. A cool banana chocolate shake rounds it all up. In the dark I go back to the tent. And find somebody has cut it open and searched my luggage for valuables. Probly two boys. Nothing lost but 500kip (~5€cent) and a Buddhist medallion. I go to sleep and fix the tent the next day.
I check in at Phao Riverview bungalows. Nice. Quiet. Easygoing. I have breakfast and spend the day reading Jack Kerouac in a hammock til noon. In the course of the afternoon I find 6 other people to join to Phapheng waterfall, the ‘Mekong Niagara’.
A funny thing is… I keep running into people I have met before. So it’s never ‘good bye’ but always ‘cya l8er’. One example. After a big portion padthai and a happy shake at Mama Piang I go to the Jungle Bar and meet Vincent with whom I have crossed the Thai-Laos border one month ago. Awesome to meet him at the end of my séjour en Laos. Another example. The very next day I stroll along a sunlit path with unknown destination. It turns out to lead to the old French bridge connecting Don Khone and Don Det. I turn right before the bridge because I am curious about the bungalows on the riverside. On a veranda of one of these bungalows I meet Thomas and Flo again, two guys I have met at Phosy Thalang on the Thakhek loop about a week ago.
I meet Zoe and Ssam on the bridge. We talk about Lao time and Lao way. Heading back at dusk. Pumpkin burger, padthai, potato salad, beerlao, banana in sweet coconut milk… a community feast.
Wanted to leave today but somebody (Phao) asks me to stay another day and leave tomorrow. Why not. I end up staying three more days, moving in a different bungalow. Sharing with a girl from Berlin. Austin celebrates his birthday so I can’t just leave, right?!
“Austin, Sarah, Loi, Suk, Chris, David, Edwin, Audrey, Mama, Papa…. equally empty, equally to be loved, equally coming Buddhas 🙂 “