The pace of life is different in Laos. Swinging in a hammock on the porch with the mighty Mekong River flowing beneath us, one feels everything slowing it’s pace to the harmony of the meandering river – your heartbeat slows, your mind clears, your blood flows smoothly to the pace set by nature – you find clarity and tranquility, finding yourself day dreaming; waking up to the sound of rain drops tapping on the tin roof above; somehow you had fallen asleep.
It rains often in this season; the rain both cooling and hypnotizing. Riding bikes around the 4,000 islands along rice fields, through mud and minor floods, winding our way through paths around the water buffalo – it’s easy to fall in love with the simple life, the slower pace, the smiles and the greetings of “Sabai dee.”
Life is peaceful here, but not without its hardships. Walking along the dirt paths around the islands, you come upon the ruins of a colonial building behind which children sit, being instructed by a teacher- you would never have recognized it as being a school. Food is plentiful for us, but it’s easy to see that’s not how it is for everyone. It’s a common sight to see dogs battling over a scrap of food, roosters pecking on the floor around the restaurant, and cats jumping onto your table in hopes of a hand out. But the people here have transcended many decades of hardships – We read somewhere that American planes dropped many tons of bombs on Laos every 8 minutes around the clock for 9 years straight. The people are still warm, welcoming, sincere, and seemingly happy with their lives. Maybe it’s the form of Buddhism that is practiced here, where any individual regardless of birth or caste can reach a state of nirvana or enlightenment…Whatever it is, there is still so much to learn from Laos and it’s people.
Our first top in Laos was the largest island of the 4,000 islands of Southern Laos, Don Khon.
Then we ventured north to the peaceful city of Pakse, Laos, the third most populated city in the country, and had a most unexpected adventure.
There are norms in Laos that most foreigners aren’t aware of, check out our article on Laotian commons.