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Lao!! Don Khong Island and Don Deng Island homestay.

June 14th, 2010 by Jo Turner-Attwell

The next day we were moving over the border and into Lao for country number two. And the first thing we saw was a waterfall, the Niagra Falls of Lao apparently. We took some pictures and headed off again towards Don Khong and Oh My God Lao was different to Cambodia immediately. For a start there were actually hills! And after chilling out a bit and seeing that the ants in our room were anihilated we felt very refreshed. Overjoyed by this change in scenery I stupidly decided it was a good idea to join Lek and Sylvia on an 8km bike ride to the other side of the island to watch the sunset. To be fair the scenery was beautiful as was the sunset. I guess the stupid moment was when I decided to jump in the Mekong river off a little jetty surrounded by children in a white top. Obviously my top went completely see through violating the modesty of South East Asian culture completely. Well done Jo. We did buy some tasty pineapple for the way back though.
After sunset things get dark pretty quick and despite riding my arse off I was still slow and I spent the majority of the journey being hit in the face by massive flies. Not fun. However I did come back able to say I had jumped in the river, and all the embarassment was definitely worth it for the man pride.
The next day we headed off to an even more beautiful island Don Deng and went via our second waterfall, which was smaller, but a bit nicer in my opinion, than the first.
Don Deng was like heaven. We got there in plastic chairs on top of a wooden raft driven by two fishing boats attached to the bottom. It was an interesting way to travel. The island itself was overlooked by green mountains and had the most beautiful white beach onto the river. After a very speedy village tour and settling into our homestay accomodation we headed towards the beach for an afternoon swim fully clothed because of Lao traditions.
The sunset whilst we were in the water and we got to meet the local kids and we carried them on our shoulders. Crazy westerners.
In the homestay we had another wonderful home cooked meal and sat chatted with the family for a while before crawling under our mosquito nets and collapsing. I learnt a little about their education system, which is compulsary until 18, and their way of life. The family itself was pretty big and there was the cutest little girl of 1 years old who already talked pretty well.
When I woke up at five thirty the family were already up dressed and cooking. I had slept fine but others had struggled with the thin mattress. The Lao family had shared one between four of them, but I think the 18 year old girl had one to herself. The toilet and shower suprised me. Despite being simple and you being supposed to purely pour water over your head. It was really refreshing in the heat. And better than most of the showers I have had since.
Next was breakfast and goodbye time, and after lots of photos and thank you’s we set off out again.

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