Monday, 17 October 2011

from one capital to another...

In the last week we have travelled from Vientiane to Phnom Penh, and though on the map you would not think it to be a very long journey, when you add the 'Asian public transport' aspect to the mix, it becomes a whole different game. Generally the waiting-around-for-no-apparent-reason-yet-a-really-long-time game.

We spent probably 3-4 hours (but it felt like 10) on a tuk-tuk that would comfortably hold 5, with 20ish people, all the luggage and a chicken. We had one "5 hour" bus trip that took 8 or 9 hours. We had a tire explode on one of our buses.

Anyway, that is all behind us now.

As I said, we left Vang Vieng and headed for Vientiane, the capital of Laos. We did some shopping, had a bit of a massage, went bowling, spent a few evenings on what would be a very relaxed river front if it weren't for the insanely loud, ridiculous Western music all the stall holders were playing at the nearby market. A stall promoting Milo was playing Linkin Park. Why?

We also went zip-lining which is superfun and extremely terrifying and basically involves flying-foxing between trees in the canopy of a forest. In case you haven't had a very good day or just need a bit of a laugh, this is what we looked like when we did it...

And the photo above is the end of our zip-lining adventure...Will being lowered down to safe ground, as shaky and adrenaline-filled as I was, I imagine.
After we had hit the 'big city' we left for our first stop on our journey to the Cambodian border. It was a tiny little village that had a 7km lake tunnelling through an enormous cave as its drawcard. It was a town in a very beautiful setting, and Will and I could hardly control our childlike delight over all of the baby animals exploring around. Everyone was friendly also...a little boy stopped us in the street so I could give him a high 5.

And there is the spooky entrance to the spooky 7km of cave we boated through. Spooky.

We left this town almost as soon as we finished our caving adventure and began a hell of a few days spent almost exlcusively on public transport, but I won't bore with any details. Although one of the towns we stopped in had a lantern festival celebrating the end of the Bhuddist Lent that was quite pretty to look at, and on the same night we were slightly terrified our tuk-tuk driver was going to murder us. But only for a moment, then he didn't. Apart from that...buses.
And this chapter ends in Si Phan Don, a region of islands at the base of Laos, where we spent one day kayaking and searching for Irrawaddy dolphins (of which there are only 20 left in this area and only one baby has been born in the last 3 years...needless to say they are incredibly rare and endangered, although we did see a few and I even managed to film them doing a bit of frolicking) before we crossed the border into Cambodia.

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